Review of Patrick James Ryan’s “The Night It Got Out”
The Night It Got Out is the first full length tale from author Patrick James Ryan, who previously wrote Blood Verse, a compendium of horror influenced short stories and poems. He dives into the equivalent of the classic B-Grade monster movie here with zeal, telling parallel accounts of a virtually unstoppable creature whose only purpose is to kill anyone and everyone who stands in its way.
Don Girard is the police chief of Magnus Pass, the town where a cargo truck carrying the imprisoned beast crashes, freeing it to go on a rampage of blood, guts, and utter chaos. Once the beast is freed, the government rushes in, with retired Green Beret Colonel Elliot Harmon leading the charge to kill or capture the beast.
Through flashback, we learn of Harmon’s unique relationship with the beast and the covert operations that created this genetically mutated killing machine. Though the police chief and Green Beret combine forces in an effort to stop the monster, it’s clear that neither trusts the other, and the motivations of each might be at crossed purposes.
This book moves quickly, shifting from one killing field to the next. From the cover of the book, the beast looks almost like a werewolf or something similar, but the way it’s described makes it more of an amalgam of various predators, including man, with razor sharp claws and teeth, plus incredible strength and speed. It is intelligent, cunning, and hunts humans out of hatred as well as a food source. Though there may have been some possibility of sympathy for this beast that has been manipulated and imprisoned by men its entire life, it was hard for me, as a reader, to see past its desire for unlimited slaughter to perhaps try and understand what it has been forced to become.
Since things move at such a rapid pace with this fairly short book, the reader’s relationships with both Girard and Harmon are rather clipped and terse, much like the relationship these two men share with one another. The bulk of the other characters and what we get to know about them serve only to migrate us from one scene of blood drenched death to another, just like classic monster movies do. We are given very brief glimpses into the lives of the creature’s victims, typically just before they are gone in a blink of an eye; eviscerated, decapitated, and devoured.
Of course, with the government involved, there is a subplot of secret government experiments and diabolical plots revolving the use of such an ultimate killing machine, but it is heavily overshadowed by the gore splattered action that crosses almost every page.
Overall, this is a fun, over the top gore fest. Readers looking for more subtle horror would probably be more inclined to read the author’s other book. Because The Night It Got Out splashes you in the face with buckets of blood, meat, and bones from start to finish.
The author continues to hone his craft with his second book and has done a bang up job with vivid descriptions with this story. I did, however, find it hard to make an emotional investment in either main character, Girard or Harmon. Perhaps it was the quick pace of the story and the limited time to get to know either of them, but I wasn’t drawn to either and found it hard to care what fate had in store for them. With that said, that isn’t a major stumbling block with this type of fast paced, vicious horror tale. Instead, just prepare to strap in and ride this gnarly carnage coaster until the end.
The Night It Got Out can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Got-Patrick-James-Ryan/dp/0692329781/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1434824559
Review of P.A. Douglas’s “Killer Koala Bears From Another Dimension”
Killer Koala Bears From Another Dimension is a throwback to the days of classic monster movies. When teenagers Tim and Joana do a little experimenting with a few strange rocks in a farmer’s field, the results are far from what they expected.
Tim just wants to escape his small, backwoods town and go someplace, anyplace, else. Joana, along for the ride but not very thrilled with her goth boyfriend and his timewasting experiment, is just as surprised as he is when dimensional rifts start showing up around town and strange humanoid shapes step out, loaded for bear (pardon the pun) and armed to the teeth with spears and knives. But whatever illusions they have that this is all just some bad dream changes when everyone around them ends up getting gutted and dined upon by the fury interlopers from another dimension.
Yep, the author went there. I have to believe he sat down one night and thought about what creature on earth is probably the most cuddly, cute, and adorable and dared himself to turned them into human flesh craving lunatics. Next thing you know, he’ll be writing about zombie-Teletubbies or vampire puppies.
Don’t get me wrong. As outrageous the idea that the nemesis of the Tim, Joana, and Frank (another desperate survivor) being humanoid shaped, spear-wielding koala bears, the author does a good job of filling these ravenous creatures with plenty of menace. These bears have teeth. Sure, the whole concept seems a bit silly, and most of the characters in the book are a bit taken aback by the idea of giant fuzzy bears coming through dimensional rifts ready to maim everything in sight, but the story is a fun, interesting race against time for the survivors. All they can do is to try and figure out a way out of this hell scape filled with deadly ursine enemies before the whole town is massacred.
Overall the story goes down pretty smooth. I perhaps grew a little weary of Joana’s repeated interludes of idle lines of thought that seemed to distract from the story a bit, and the ending seemed to shift gears a little bit surprisingly with the final reveal, but nothing was too out of phase with the rest of this blood-saturated adventure into teddy bear nightmares.
This is a fun one. Goofy and gruesome at the same time…I doubt I’ll ever look at a koala bears the same again.
Killer Koala Bears From Another Dimension can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0987476556/ref=cm_cr_thx_view
Review of “The Revenants-I Kill Monsters” by Tony Monchinski
The Revenants, book two of the I Kill Monsters series, picks up where Fury left off. Boone has been imprisoned by a vampire lord who is intrigued by the power of his blood and has hand picked him to complete a mission with several of his men.
Much like the first book in this series and the other books I’ve read by Tony Monchinski, the story hovers around New York City, though we depart that area to head over to Europe for a time, and Rainford, the Dark Vampire Lord, takes the reader and Boone on a journey to the distant past, where he relates the story of his history in Russia and the love of his life during his youth as a vampire. While Boone finds the telling of this tale as he is imprisoned annoying at first, he is sucked into it much like the reader is, seeing things through the eyes of Rainford while he recounts his tragic tale. But rest assured, this is no sappy romance with Rainford playing the role of tragic hero. As is the case with Fury, vampires are relentless, vile creatures who have no regard for the living and in many cases no regard for their fellow undead.
The story has numerous plotlines going, all intertwined in different ways, though sometimes it is hard to see the ultimate connections. As the author has a sizeable series planned, it is clear his plan is to reveal things in dribs and drabs here, and not divulge the meaning behind different portions of the overall story too soon. Vampires, Furies, and now Revenants are revealed as supernatural creatures here, though it is clear that the Revenants here are not the typical zombies we are used to seeing in books and movies these days, but a more traditional form of enslaved dead. The world as a whole doesn’t realize they exist, but the author is pulling back the curtain to show us more and more of the dark underbelly of the world.
Tony knows how to spin a complex tale, but therein lays the challenge with reading a book like this. It was exactly two years ago that I completed the first book, and the extensive secondary stories took some time to come back to my mind after such a long absence. Reading a complicated tale with sizable time gaps between each chapter makes it tougher to remember all the critical details from the previous book. But that is not a gripe related to the storytelling or the story itself; it is just a desire for the author to produce these books faster. Because both have been compelling reads, and I am already anxiously awaiting the third book in the saga.
You can find The Revenants here: http://www.amazon.com/Revenants-Kill-Monsters-Tony-Monchinski/dp/1478204303/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351442918&sr=1-14&keywords=tony+monchinski
Review of “MonsterMatt’s Bad Monster Jokes, Volume 1”
What can I really say about this book? It is well over a hundred pages of some of the most groan-inducing jokes about monsters and monster related topics I have ever seen. Not just jokes, but rhymes, raps, and song parodies. MonsterMatt does his best to make you want to stick a fork in your eye, and then, after you’ve gotten over the pain from such an agonizing injury, use your remaining good eye to read more of his jokes. I’m not really sure what kept dragging me back in for more, but I suppose part of it has to be the fact that there is no deception used here-no attempt to convince you, the reader, that any of these jokes will do any more or less than make you cringe at how pun-ishingly bad they are. Of course, if you are like me, and don’t try to take the world we live in too seriously all the time, there is a place for a book like this one. One that you can share with your kids and get them to moan and roll their eyes at you for telling them such bad jokes…ones that they might just tell their friends and not let you know that they did so.
You get everything from the classics: jokes about Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, Wolfman…and jokes about some of the newer stuff out there, like True Blood, The Walking Dead, and movies like Dead Snow. Given that this book is entitled Volume 1, I fear that MonsterMatt is not finished, so be warned. The bad jokes apparently shall return to induce even more headaches and heartburn!
MonsterMatt’s Bad Monster Jokes, Volume 1 can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/MonsterMatts-Bad-Monster-Jokes-1/dp/1617060941/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329709231&sr=1-1
Cover revealed for “Daily Bites of Flesh 2011”
Another anthology that one of my stories will be appearing in is being released shortly. In fact, it should be available at the publisher’s website, www.pillhillpress.com tomorrow. It should be on Amazon within a week. This is a compendium of 365 Flash Fiction horror stories. Flash fiction are stories that are less than 500 words each. Essentially, these are short flashes of terror, without all the extras that come with short stories and novels. The challenge is to create an environment and fill it with characters and a plot in a very short period of time. My flash, “Compulsion,” is one of the April stories, and one I am quite proud of.
If you are a fan of horror, this is a great way to get a huge dose of it-365 different stories to freak you out, and each in nice little bite sized pieces.
Check out the cover by the same artist who has done my books, Philip R. Rogers. It is beautiful. More details as the book becomes available, which will be very soon!