“Thomas S. Flowers delivers an old-school monster story that’s easy to jump on board.”
Typically, the third book of a trilogy is laced with glossed-over characterizations and missing puzzle pieces that confuse and confound new readers, but with Conceiving, the third book in his Subdue series, author Thomas S. Flowers delivers an old-school monster story that’s easy to jump on board, even if you’ve missed the first two installments of the series.
Conceiving jumps between four characters converging on the quaint town of Jotham, Texas. History professor Boris Petry and his wife Neville are ready to settle down and start a family–even though readers learn from the very first chapter that getting pregnant in this story can be a very dangerous thing. Bobby Weeks is haunted by the events of his past (and here’s where new readers will be thinking they should’ve picked up the other two volumes), but has a dark and violent secret he’s running from. Luna Blanche is a gifted psychic, and while taking care of her dying Memaw and learning about some dark family history, she sends her thoughts Bobby’s way and discovers he’s on a one-way collision with something deadly.
Thomas S. Flowers is a capable storyteller, and he clearly has a love for his characters, and a love of doing awful, horrifying things to them. He teases in the background story from previous novels using nightmares instead of information dumps, and seems to fully understand that for a book to succeed it has to stand on its own and can’t rely entirely on what has come before. He’s got a deft touch for it, too, balancing characters and back story and giving readers just enough to roll into Jotham completely ready for the stories to converge and for something nasty to happen. There’s nothing pretentious about Conceiving, and it isn’t trying to be.
For new readers, it will be easy to categorize these characters into generic roles. The psychic, the tragic hero, the husband, the wife. Cookie-cutter people in an urban fantasy world. There’s some merit to that, but Flowers doesn’t seem to care. These are his versions, and they reside in his world. It’s not breaking any new ground, but reminds a reader that the genre for this brand of horror is plenty fertile and there’s lots of room to play around. Fair warning to the squeamish, there’s all kinds of nastiness dealing with pregnancy in this book, so take that as you will.
Conceiving might be Book 3 in a series, but for readers looking for an introduction to Jotham and to Thomas S. Flowers as a writer, it’s a pretty good place to start.
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
Paperback (277 pp)
Release Date: 29 November 2016
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