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Under / Bradd Quinn

CreateSpace / October 2009
Reviewed by: Michele Lee

Under by Bradd Quinn starts horrifically with this little disclaimer:

"Oh, and this book is self-published, so there will be typos. Oh yes, there will be typos. Think of them as easter eggs. Happy Hunting!"

Uh-oh. Not an auspicious way to start a novel, but one must give Quinn points for being truthful.

From here Under launches into a series of sound bites, going back in time, that give readers a hint of a mass murder, using every trigger word available to assure readers the story they're about to read is no doubt both "grisly" and "gruesome".

Then comes the meat of the story, wherein hero of the tale Jacob Drake, husband and father (also the kind of man who blames his own ill temper on a female coworker for not "showing some damn cleavage" and kicks the family dog — in short this "hero" is racist, sexist, and an unapologetic jerk) begins to notice evidence of something nesting under his deck. Jacob's discovery of dead wildlife and foul smells are interspersed with flashbacks, characters bickering, and a collection of disparaging remarks about Jews, gays, and women.

After the foreshadowing and characters are well established, the action begins with Jacob and his buddy encountering one of the things nesting under his deck, and under homes all through the area. Things that it seems are also responsible for the grisly murders in the nearby town of Gaston. Unfortunately, no one believes Jacob, so he's charged with the task of saving the town on his own.

From there Under actually has its moments, familiar ones that nevertheless tug at the strings of readers looking for anticipation, danger, and a healthy dose of gore. An unmistakable cannibal monster story as the plot amps up and winds down, Quinn presents a series of useless cops, women who are too stupid to live (and thus are killed off one after another), and a pair of middle management office workers playing Rambo, bumbling in their efforts to save, primarily, Jacob's five-year-old daughter from the man-eating critters.

Every time the story gets going it seems it's ruined by a snide comment about a woman or minority, or a cop of some kind completely failing, due to ignorance or jerkiness usually, to do their job, leaving Jacob to be the hero.

As for the editing, it's really bad. Many grammar and punctuation problems decorate most pages, even before formatting problems such as lines running together, different font sizes for subsequent sentences and words printed on top of one another. Metaphors are often heavy, cliché, and just plain confusing. Not to forget the very convoluted formation of the story itself, with the timeline running forward and backward in alternating sections at the same time.

Under does have its moments, again, especially for diehard horror fans. But it read likes a rough draft, badly in need of inspiration and editing (and a good hard reminder that women are horror fans, too!). The good news is that there appears to be a revised edition available; however the original is still for sale as well. With its foreboding foreword, it makes one wonder how seriously this tale is offered as a quality addition to the horror genre if minorities, gays, and women – and, yes, even the reader – are considered not worth basic consideration.

Purchase Under by Bradd Quinn.

Posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 06:11PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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