Book review: SNAFU: Black Ops

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The SNAFU series from Cohesion Press has been churning out military infused horror fiction for some time now. With ‘SNAFU: Black ops’ the publishers have enlisted the services of some cool cats like Jonathan Maberry and Nicholas Sansbury Smith, both of whom should be well-known to you if you read a lot of this sort of stuff.

Maberry kicks things off with a long piece featuring his wise-cracking, ass-kicking super stud Joe Ledger in a cool post-apocalyptic tale. It’s trademark Maberry and although there are a far too many “Hooahs” I did enjoy this tale. ‘The Waking Dragon’ was excellent. really original and just the sort of thing I want to read in an anthology where there are likely a lot of similar stories, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, it’s all here in this great story. ‘Black Tide’ features Alastair Crowley, James A. Moore’s dastardly character. I’ve loved his other Crowley stories in previous anthologies and this one was good too. It is a story that features the handsome looking thing on the front cover and is hella fun. Alan Baxter’s tale reminded me a little of ‘Suicide Squad’, which I didn’t like when I saw it at the movies. Thankfully, Baxter’s tale is much better. ‘Seal Team Blue’ had an air of Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’ about it. It features a team of Navy Seals sent into a city to search for survivors.  There is nothing bad about it but it did feel a lot longer than it needed to be. I’m pretty sure this story can be told in half as much time, but maybe that’s just me. I soon approached a home-run of stories by Kirsten Cross, Hank Schwaeble and Seth Skorkowsky. Each one had its own unique flavour and I really enjoyed them all but particularly Schwaeble’s Hatcher story which sees a rescue mission turned into a monster hunt. Great dialogue in this and Hatcher is a terrific character I want to read more of. ‘God-Killers in our Midst’ was pretty good too though it didn’t blow me away the same way in which the previous stories did. A little too satirical in places though it provided a welcome change in style. The final story ‘Extinction Lost’ by Nicholas Sansbury Smith I approached with caution. I’d recently read ‘Hell Divers’ and wasn’t very impressed with it at all, finding it to be a little too cliché and cheesy for my liking. Thankfully this story isn’t from that same world and it finishes the anthology off in fine style with a pulsating story taking place in freezing Greenland. Yes, again it’s a little cheesy but the monsters were cool and I liked the setting too, so “Hooah!”

This is the largest SNAFU to date. Despite a couple of the novella length pieces being a little too long, SNAFU: Black Ops kicks serious butt. Some of the stories showed great originality, whilst others were just great fun to read and had me yearning to find out more. With SNAFU: Judgement Day coming next year the series shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. If you enjoy military-style horror then you can’t go wrong with these books or any of the others from Cohesion Press. Good stuff.

Pick up a copy of the latest SNAFU from here.

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