Under the Blade follows middle-aged Melanie Holden, a college professor at a crossroads in her life and career when she decides to return to the town of Forest Grove - a place that holds dark memories for her. In 1988, Melanie was just a teenager when she fought and killed Cyrus Hoyt, who was responsible for the bloodbath that killed her friends at Camp Forest Grove. Decades later, Hoyt is just a legend to the local teenagers in Forest Grove, but when trouble starts almost as soon as Melanie arrives, she realizes that her terror is not over.
I have to admit that I was very disappointed by the first chapter of the novel, and didn't have much hope for the rest. The novel's opening is the bloody encounter that Melanie has with Hoyt at the camp, and the overused clichés were not to my liking. The lone female survivor stalked by a brutal killer at a summer camp. Finding the dead bodies of her friends in the cabins. The two lovers speared together on a bed. The mention of the town crazy who warns the teenagers of a murderer in the woods. The final battle at the lake, including a trip in a canoe. That should all sound familiar to horror fans, and I feared that this was the extent of what the author had to offer me. Surely a fellow fan can come up with something more original than that!
Having a woman in her forties as a main character in a horror story was a nice change of pace. This role was perhaps better suited for an older heroine, as she proves herself to be more resourceful and stronger, despite the horror she witnessed and took part in decades ago. She bites off the nose of two people, for crying out loud. That's pretty hardcore. Serafini writes Melanie quite believably and admirably - I can hardly think of anything that I didn't like about her. Though she's not sure of him at first, Chief Nathan Brady is a nice counterpart to Melanie's character - he's young, but also experienced, someone who has a lot to prove to his father-in-law and to the whole town, which causes problems for him at home. His wife Trish is an thirty-ish hellion who can't stand small town life and resents having to return to the home town that she hated. All are likable, easy people to follow through the course of the book, and Serafini gives the reader plenty of time to focus on each one and decide what they think of him or her.
|Author Matt Serafini|
Under the Blade is a truly awesome output from an author who knows his stuff and has an obvious love and respect for the horror genre. The novel has just the right amount of mystery and suspense to keep the reader invested until the last page, and enough horrific revelations to make the conclusion completely satisfying and worth the wait.
Under the Blade can be purchased through Amazon here!