Sunday, April 10, 2016
The Him Deep Down: A Horror Novelette by Chad Lutzke, Terry M. West
This novelette begins with a fairly standard zombie apocalypse scenario. Andy, Stephen, Nicky, and Tim experience the burning of a busload of children (presumably dead). Andy's little brother, Stephen, seems to enjoy the burning, which disturbs and widens the gulf between them.
They have to find food, shelter, and weapons, so they move on.
They come upon a home with food laid out, ready for the picking. They help themselves. They learn that the food and house belong to a mother who has returned and a son on the way. They lay down the law for the older woman: Either she helps or they get rid of her.
There are two surprises. I half-expected the one, not the other. In fact, I had to reread for the second surprise, thematic--not that it was hidden. In fact it perfectly matches what's happened in the story so that it was strange not to pick it up on the first go. It mashes together the apocalyptic and backwoods horror genres, leaving its stamp on both. Food for thought.
The two surprises make the story worthwhile. I would not, however, recommend it for those who like uplifting, heart-warming tales. Perhaps after glancing at the above picture, that goes without saying. Stylistically, the saidisms--synonyms for said--can go overboard.
The narrator, Julie Hoverson, has astonishing range. She captures the diverse voices well, despite most of them being male. Her occasional unconscious lilt is the one drawback.
If you like grim horror, this may be your cup of blood tea. Cheers.