Book Review: Prime Directive – Duncan P. Bradshaw

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Duncan P. Bradshaw is one third of the Sinister Horror Company – a small press based in the UK that has been releasing some truly excellent dark fiction over the past twelve months. Each member of the SHC has their own flavour and approach to writing dark fiction. Duncan’s previous releases are zombie novels ‘Class Three’ and ‘Class Four’ and his Bizarro novella ‘Celebrity Culture’. As well as having the usual shambling dead shenanigans, blood and guts, with ‘Class Three and Class Four’ Bradshaw chooses to inject his writing with a sense of humour. I have seen this done well and not so well; thankfully Bradshaw manages to pull it off with ease.

Recently he dove into the Bizarro fiction waters with his novella ‘Celebrity Culture’ – a twisted, gross out look at the lengths the rich and famous will go to in order to get recognised. I like that Bradshaw doesn’t want to be simply known as “that zombie guy” and is prepared to travel in different directions with his writing. With ‘Prime Directive’, Bradshaw once again chooses a different path. This time he takes us to Mars where a small group of scientists are hoping to uncover the secrets of the red planet. What could possibly go wrong?

There are some interesting people on this mission, each with their own unique personality. There is a certain amount of tension between certain characters, as one would expect being in the company of the same group of people for such a long time; in particular Dana Fischerman, who wants to go home a hero by finding something that will make her a household name. She will find something, but what she finds will threaten not only the entire mission but the future of mankind too!

This is a great, fun read. It is only short and after being introduced to the characters things begin to head south…fast. I felt this book had elements of both Event Horizon and The Thing, though what Dana finds in the Galle crater is really quite original. The second half of the book sees the gore factor increased tenfold with blood and body parts strewn about everywhere. Nobody really knows who to trust and this makes reading exciting and unpredictable. There is a little of Bradshaw’s trademark wit, though not too much – this is sci-fi horror and Bradshaw does a great job.

With another novel in the form of ‘Hexagram’ coming this July, Duncan P. Bradshaw shows no signs of slowing down. He is steadily building himself an impressive and varied catalog of work.

Pick up a copy of ‘Prime Directive’ from here.

Look out for an interview and quiz with Duncan, coming in the next few weeks!

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