I’ve read a lot of Michael Patrick Hicks’ work and this is right up there with Revolver as my favourite story. Antoine Dewitt doesn’t have much going for him, but things are about to change when he receives a letter informing him that he has won $5000! All he needs to do to claim the cash is to visit a dodgy car dealership in the middle of nowhere….seems legit, right?
Ermmm, no! Broken Shells is all sorts of icky! I had no idea what I was in for before reading this story. Hicks gives us a protagonist in Antoine DeWitt who you can’t help but feel something for. The guy is just looking for a break but he sure ain’t going to find it at this dealership. Things go from bad to worse very quickly in this gory and gruesome read by a writer who always makes the stomach churn with his vivid descriptions.
I had a great time with this book. Broken Shells is a full-on survival horror story. It’s a claustrophobic thrill ride that will leave you scratching yourself all over by the end of the book. It’s pretty dang heavy on the gore, however, don’t get to thinking that Broken Shells is simply all about that, there is a little social commentary going on and Hicks also mixes in a little native American mythology. The novella format is perfect for this story with short, punchy chapters and no down-time. I particularly loved Antoine’s awakening underground soon after his arrival a the dealership and the realization of his dire situation. This is a particularly tense chapter in the book, really well written I thought. Hicks really lets the hand brake off from here on in. Don’t expect any happy endings, but do expect a bloody great horror novella.
4/5 creepy crawlies from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.
Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.
Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.
When Antoine steps foot on Dangle’s car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle’s secrets do not kill him first.
Visit Michael Patrick Hicks here.