“The book moves along at wild, almost chaotic speeds, hurling you into battle after battle with the blood-thirsty, eyeball sucking monsters”
There have been a lot of creature feature type books reviewed here lately, and they’ve mostly been positive ones for the simple reason that they’ve all been outstanding books. Everyone loves a good, bloody, monstrous scare, but until recently there’s been something of a dearth of good ones. It’s only been within the last couple years that some really top-notch monster stories have started popping up again. We’ve had the usual fare of vampires, werewolves, and tired old zombies, some of them brilliant stories such as Stephen Graham Jones’ Mongrels, and some of them not so brilliant. But there’s a monster you don’t find much in the regular fare of ravenous, flesh-rending, blood-sucking cryptids, one that Reagan Butcher handles quite nicely in Fury of the Chupacabras.
The book starts out with the bonus prequel novella Attack of the Chupacabras, in which we meet Joe Gifford and company as they’re running guns from southern Texas down to Mexico. Guns that, as it turns out, come in extremely handy as they find themselves stranded in a small, isolated village beset by the hybrid reptilian, insect, humanoid creatures known as chupacabras. It’s at this point in the book that you begin to see what you’re in for with Raegan Butcher’s adrenaline fueled, action packed tales of monsters and mayhem. Almost from the first sentence, Butcher puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t let up until the shockingly violent, blood-soaked finale.
In the second act, the full length novel, Fury of the Chupacabras, we encounter Gifford again in a whole new occupation. Gone are the days of running guns and selling drugs as Gifford has taken on the mantle of chupacabra hunter, chasing down the foul, fish-smelling creatures wherever he can find them and exterminating them. The story takes place in the sleepy one-horse town of Dadeville, Florida, where Gifford and crew have been commissioned to eradicate a reportedly small infestation of chupacabras that have been preying upon the townsfolk. When they get there, they find themselves reluctantly teaming up with Jet Ryder, a cowardly rock-star cum reality TV star and his bumbling team of producers and technicians. It doesn’t take long after that for pandemonium to ensue as they discover that the supposedly small number of monsters they’ve come to kill actually number in the hundreds.
There are several reasons why Fury of the Chupacabras really works. It’s a ridiculously fun, sometimes unabashedly cheesy story that reads like a Sunday afternoon B horror flick with a high entertainment factor. The character interactions are engaging and often hilarious, the body count is insanely high, there is an intentionally gratuitous gore factor that fits the story wonderfully, and Butcher’s authorial voice is a perfect fit for the havoc-laden narrative. But there is one major strength to Fury of the Chupacabras, a feature that stands out above all others and really drives this story, and that’s an almost perfect mastery of pacing. The book moves along at wild, almost chaotic speeds, hurling you into battle after battle with the blood-thirsty, eyeball sucking monsters, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the graphically brutal, ultimately satisfying conclusion.
There are a few small details that could use some improvement. The characters are pretty thin, with very little backstory given to build any real depth, and the dialogue is sometimes stiff and unnatural. That said, those minor issues do little to nothing to lessen the entertainment factor of this riotously tumultuous celebration of blood, destruction, and savage monster action. It’s difficult to take on and maintain such a frenetically paced story without losing control or direction of the narrative, but Butcher does so with alacrity, presenting us with a compelling, captivating tale that keeps you turning pages compulsively until the very last word.
Reagan Butcher’s Fury of the Chupacabras is a worthy addition to any monster lovers library and a highly recommended, lightning fast read for any horror fan. If you’re looking for a book designed to entertain you without making you think too much, you can’t go wrong here and you definitely won’t be disappointed with the final outcome, nor with the fact that there is more chupacabra action to come from the tip of Reagan Butcher’s gore encrusted pen.
SHANE DOUGLAS KEENE
Publisher: Necro Publications
Release Date: 2 April, 2016
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