Apocalyptic horror novels and novellas are a frequent sight when traversing the pages of Amazon. I’ve read a lot. In fact, I’ve read a Hell of a lot. My love of apocalyptic horror started a few years back with King’s ‘ The Stand’ and it is an area of the horror genre that I still enjoy reading. I’m always searching for apocalyptic horror that steers clear of zombies and John F. Leonard’s ‘Four Hours’ is a great take on the end of days.
‘Four Hours’ features a London tearing itself to pieces by its former inhabitants whilst a secret underground bunker in Whitehall houses a contingent of survivors. Among the survivors are Pearcy and Gallagher; two friends who set off on a deadly mission across London to rescue Gallagher’s daughter.
The ‘city flu’ that has swept through London turning people into mutant monsters is horrific. The virus is well depicted and the people it affects mutate into savage beasts where there are some great descriptions that are sure to test your gag reflex. Leonard doesn’t overload the novella with characters, instead choosing to focus on the two main ones in Pearcy and Gallagher. There are a couple of others, one of which a girl who says very little and doesn’t add a great deal to the story progression, though perhaps she will return in later books?
The pacing is perfect for the novella form and there is plenty of action and narrow escapes. The characters are well drawn and engaging, and with the introduction of the slightly odd gas mask wearing survivalist, things take on a troublesome and unpredictable turn. A quite sad and surprising ending left this reader a happy man, despite the grim content of the book. I look forward to reading more from Mr Leonard.
Pick up a copy of this apocalyptic novella from here.