Thanks to the people at Author Marketing Experts for hooking me up with author Scott M. Baker and his new horror-thriller novel, Yeitso
. And thank you to Scott Baker himself for leaving me two awesome notes to go with the book! How amazing, I love being able to have that kind of connection to the author of stuff that I'm reviewing! The description of the novel was delightfully intriguing, yet cryptic, so I wasn't really sure what I was in store for. But to my immense surprise, Yeitso
was completely unlike any other horror book that I have read recently, and it is a wonderful nod to one of my favorite subsets of the horror genre.
When New York City detective Russell Andrews moves his teenage daughter to small desert town in New Mexico called Los Alamos to be the Chief of Police, he expected it to be a quiet and safer change of pace from the big city. Not long after the starts his new job, though, a young man is brutally killed and another girl disappears. But the evidence does not point to a typical murder, and in fact reveals the truth about a huge danger that lurks in the desert, something unlike anything seen before.
The first thing that is a sign to me of a good book is if it has likable and believable characters. The main focus is on Russell, and he is portrayed as just being your typical good guy, a little haunted by his past work as a cop in NYC and the affect it had on his relationship with his family, but still hopeful that things will all work out. I was happy that Russell's daughter Kiera was not a clichéd police officer's child who scorns his rules and is all rebellious, causing problems. To a point, she does loathe having the Chief for a father, mainly because of what it does to her social life, but she loves him to death and wants to protect him. Kiera became my favorite character in the scene where she first encounters the mean girls at school, and pretty much annihilates them with her New York girl attitude. I also loved Kiera's immediate approval of her father's new girlfriend, police officer Molly Collins. Molly is a sweetheart, but also a no-nonsense that's not afraid to get her hands dirty when the craziness starts. Entomologist Anne Sheridan is a great addition to the ensemble as the one who provides all the useful information about the big bad in the book.
If you want to know just what is going on with Yeitso
, the cover should give you a little hint. But even that is misleading, because with this book, it seems Baker is channeling Franz Kafka, in a way, as he makes the villain in the piece be... giant beetles! How fun is that? And before you go thinking that beetles don't seem that scary or like that big of a threat, let me just tell you that you are wrong. Creature features are a much-beloved horror subgenre of yours truly, and I loved the stuff that Baker brought to this table with Yeitso
. The beetles are not genetically altered or anything, they've just survived underground for many years and are freed on the modern world by way of a landslide.
|Author Scott M. Baker|
The beetles are able to create a lot of nastiness because they can shoot out a burning acid at their victims, and later on, their mandibles work wonderfully as a giant pair of scissors to cut through human bodies. Though the book is not a gore fest or anything really extreme like that, it still has enough wonderfully graphic descriptions to satisfy my love for some good ol' creature feature fun. In the beginning, there is just one big bug to deal with and when that one is spectacularly dealt with (by Molly of all people!), most of the middle part of the book is spent on Russell and team searching the desert for any nests of baby beetle pupae. This is where the book loses a bit of its momentum when all the action pretty much stops. However, Baker is still able to build the right amount of tension for the conclusion because of the constant talk of the annual rave that will take place in the desert. Admittedly, this climax was not the full-on massacre that I was expecting - but I guess since most of the victims would have been high school age kids, that would have been kind of wrong.
With some wonderfully drawn, likable characters; a worthy and unusual foe; and a nice pacing that sets just the right mood, Scott Baker's Yeitso
is a very entertaining thrill ride that I loved every word of. It was a welcome change from the vampire, werewolf, and zombie stories that I've been reading lately (not that I don't still love all those) and it manages to be just as exciting as any of those stories. I would definitely suggest giving this one a chance!
Buy Yeitso here