Monday, 4 September 2017

Book Review: Red Swarm by Jamie Hutchison

Beneath the waves lurks new deadly predators On a cold November morning the crew of the Anti-Submarine Frigate HMS Sabre witnesses divers being attacked and devoured by a vast shoal of ferocious fish.

Marine Biologist Mark Yates teams up with the Royal Navy to combat the threat not only to the British Isles but all the world oceans.

The first of Mark Yates high seas adventures.

My Review: 
I read this book as part of Deep Blue Terror, where I was reading books and watching films about sharks, crocs, sea monsters and any water based monsters. I didn't have enough books to fill the reading part so this was one that I downloaded from Amazon on a bit of a whim. I was not disappointed!  

The first thing I liked about the book, other than the great cover of course, was the fact that it heavily features British characters. I always feel that there are not enough monster features with British MCs so it was great to find this one. Having a lot of the action featuring our brilliant Royal Navy was the added bonus. We start with the frigate HMS Sabre off the coast of Plymouth and preparing for a routine dive test when strange noises are picked up by sonar and the Leading Hand Tanzy Lee is puzzled by it. He passes the problem on to Chief Petty Officer Sharky Ward, who is concerned enough to keep asking if any fish are showing up on the screens and wants the divers out of the water. His concerns about the divers are well founded as they are attacked by a huge swarm of red eel like creatures as they exit the water.

The Royal Navy are concerned about the attack and this is where we meet our MC Mark Yates, a marine biologist who has been contacted over his expertise. The arrival of US commander Jeff Winters at a crisis meeting brings the information that the eels are actually a cross breed of eel, squid, barracuda and red drum fish, designed to be a fast growing genetically engineered food source. During a hurricane, these test subjects escaped from their lab in Florida and have been responsible for attacks on sea and beaches in the two years since. Now they are in UK waters and need to be stopped as the swarm is attacking innocent people on nearby beaches and fishermen at sea.

This book is full of action as the swarm start to divide into groups and grow in length, intelligence and aggression. They discover the ability to set traps and ambushes on land and sea, making them deadly. Dog walkers, partying young people, wedding guests, cockel pickers, fishermen are all becoming dinner for these dangerous creatures. As Mark and Jeff try to learn more about their habits and weaknesses, the swarm continue to murder at will. The body count is very high, which I enjoy in these creature feature books, but it not just an all out gorefest. There is so much tension in the book as the Royal Navy try to lure the monsters into traps, and also as the monsters close in on various prey in the UK and US. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat at times as we waited to see where the monsters were going to strike next. The excellent mixture of action and tension is mixed well with characters that you care about. Having sea monsters is one thing but having them able to come up to the beach and enter buildings is a whole new form of terror.

The characters are another major part of why I liked this book so much. I love Sharky, the Chief Petty Officer. He was one of my favourite characters. In fact I liked all the Royal Navy crew and the way they worked effortlessly as a team, cooperating with each other and trusting in each other's abilities. I also liked the full cooperation between the British and American military. Too many books have the steriotype of the pushy rude Americans coming in to take over British operations and there being rivalry and mistrust. There was none of that here with Mark and Jeff becoming friends and everyone focused on defeating the actual enemy. This was quite refreshing. There wasn't a single character that I didn't like, which is unusual with so much going on.

The one thing that made me a little nervous to start with was the attraction between Mark and Lisa, as I feared another book where the monster story takes a back seat to romance. However the romance is very much background and hardly features compared to the monster action so I was pleased with that.

This book is a tension filled action packed monster story which was always moving at good pace yet allowed characters to develop. That is the kind of book I like and I very much enjoyed this. It would be nice to see it made into a TV mini series rather than just a film! I have purchased a paperback copy now and already have an ebook copy of the second book featuring Mark Yates which I look forward to reading. 

Read August 2017 
4 stars.


  1. I haven't read many monsters books so I wouldn't know who are usually the main characters. Let me take a wild guess here though... Americans??? We are everywhere in books and movies LOL monsters, aliens, dragons... leave it to Americans! We'll save the world every time ;-)

    1. A lot of writers are American so a lot of characters are American and some are those rude obnoxious steriotypes who think they are all that and throw their weight around. It's nice to see some normal US military!

  2. I love that cover too and was afraid to grab this because so many let me down. So happy you liked it and I'll probably give it a go. I'm also happy the romance took a back seat and I love that name, Sharky Ward!

    1. Yeah I found this to be one of the better ones! The author is Scottish too which is nice!