Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Review: Clickers by JF Gonzalez

Click Click Click Click.

Phillipsport, Maine is a quaint and peaceful seaside village. But when hundreds of creatures pour out of the ocean and attack, its residents must take up arms to drive the beasts back. They are the Clickers, giant venomous blood-thirsty crabs from the depths of the sea. The only warning to their rampage of dismemberment and death is the terrible clicking of their claws. But these monsters aren't merely here to ravage and pillage. They are being driven onto land by fear. Something is hunting the Clickers. Something ancient and without mercy. Deadite Press is proud to present the authors' preferred version of J. F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams' gore-soaked cult classic tribute to the giant monster B-movies of yesteryear. 

My Review:
Giant half lobster half scorpion creatures are coming out of the sea to attack the population of the coastal town of Phillipsport. These creatures are fast, deadly and very hungry as they move onshore. For those who survive the initial onslaught, the worst is still to come...

The book opens with the exciting monster attack on the boats off the coast, just as the storms begin to gather. Rick, a writer on the brink of greatness, arrives in town for the winter to write his next book at a friend's house and lands in the middle of a nightmare. Now we are introduced to a series of interesting locals-Jack from the comic book store, Janice the single mother, Rusty the dumb deputy, Glen the town doctor, Lee the drugstore owner, Melissa the waitress and Roy the racist bigot sheriff who is determined to blame Rick for everything that is bad in his life. I liked the mix of characters and the way they were written. You got to care about most of them and hoped that at least some would survive to the end.

Lets look at the Clickers. I loved these guys as horror book monsters! Three feet in length, with deadly pincers AND a stinger that disolves your flesh like acid! You do not want to meet these dudes in a dark building, that's for sure! It was creepy the way the clickers appear with the rustling sound and the ominous clicking. The attack scenes were well written and full of tension, with a liberal sprinkling of gore for good measure! They are just the kind of monsters that appear in dodgy B movies but this book is much better written than that. It is a genuine monster horror book that keeps you reading it and while the clickers were munching on everyone, I was pretty happy.

I liked Roy because I hated him. He was a great bad guy from the beginning and I liked that we get to see through his eyes why he was so prejudiced to guys with long hair. His story was interesting, his actions horrific but he was so compelling. I loved the way his story was finally resolved with that bit of redemption. Nicely written!

However, I did not like it as much when The Dark Ones appeared. These are green scaly sea monsters who follow clickers to their breeding grounds to feed upon them. Suddenly, The Dark Ones come ashore and the clickers just vanish and are no longer in the story except seeing the odd one retreat from this new enemy. That was pretty disappointing. Introducing a second monster who is virtually unbeatable felt like a bit of a cheat to me. They are fast, hard to see, can't be killed by bullets and can basically just bite your head off in one go. Pretty damn difficult to have exciting fights or escapes involving these buggers. It had me thinking of those dreadful alien zombie things in Brian Keene's novels.

While there were a few good scenes with this new threat and Roy, I didn't like the direction that this took the story and it led to a literal bloodbath of most of the survivors, the ones I was rooting for and hoping to see in book two. Two of my favourites disappear in the space of a couple of lines and that was that. It left me feeling very unsatisfied with the way seven characters were dispatched in one attack spanning six pages on the ereader! It felt rushed, it felt like a bloodbath for the sake of it and for one of my favourites to die with just a scream from the distant woods after all his heroic actions, well that just left me pissed. It did in fact spoil the whole book, which is why this is 3 and not 4 star. Had they just stayed with the clickers to the end with no Dark Ones, I'd have given this a 4 star for sure.

I was still interested in Clickers 2-until I found out that the rest of the series is co-written with Brian Keene. I haven't enjoyed the books of his that I've tried especially his zombie books, so sadly I won't be reading the rest of this series.

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

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