Another wetwork nightmare that should delight fans of Haters and intrigue writers who wallow in the genre.

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING

Fifteen people trapped on a remote island in the North Sea struggle to survive during a violent outbreak.

This nasty new piece by prolific horror writer Moody (Strangers, 2014, etc.) is a side-quel to his popular survival trilogy that began with Haters (2006). He’s taken a different tack here, one that feels much more like a cinematic work than a literary one. Where Haters followed a single character, here Moody pulls back to a third-person omniscient POV to follow a Battle Royale–style contest of wits and guts among 15 people. The book is set on Skek, a deserted island once home to a military outpost and a science expedition, now the base for an extreme sports team-building enterprise. When a violent epidemic takes hold, things go sideways in a hurry. A young woman is shoved off a cliff after attacking another team member. A passenger ferry is found smashed up on shore, with only a bloody aftermath to reveal the fate of its passengers. Even amid all this terror, our heroes are delightfully self-aware. “It’s a bit bloody shortsighted if you ask me,” says one. “You’re running an extreme-sports center in the middle of the bloody ocean, and you don’t have a viable escape route?” In another exchange, a character named Paul calls out the most obvious analogy to his mate Matt. “It’s just that this sounds like the start of a shitty zombie movie, that’s all. It sounds fucking stupid, if I’m honest.” As with its spiritual predecessors, soon the remaining dozen or so survivors are divided between “Haters” and the “Unchanged,” hurtling toward the inevitable cliffhanger. It’s not high art by any stretch and lacks the sociological inquiry of Max Brooks’ World War Z, but for a bloody fun ride, it gets the job done.

Another wetwork nightmare that should delight fans of Haters and intrigue writers who wallow in the genre.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-10841-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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