Pick of the Week (#4): The Sticks, by Andy Deane
-Selection made by Stephen Zimmer
The Book:Something evil is stirring in the sticks outside the small town of Jefferson, Virginia... And Brian was already having one hell of a night. After a disastrous outing at a party full of snobs on the rich side of town, his girlfriend Alicia dumps him then promptly vanishes under suspicious circumstances. Searching for her in the dark of night while working his way through a backwoods maze and the outlandish characters that inhabit it, Brian instead finds an enigmatic dark-haired beauty named Jessica and a monster he hadn't believed existed outside his beloved horror films. But before the night is through, everyone and everything Brian cares about will be threatened by a creature that is all too real, a bloodthirsty beast lurking in the woods of Jefferson. Fighting for his life, Brian tries to uncover the truth about the evil stalking him and the mystery surrounding Alicia's disappearance, but time is running out. Welcome to a night in THE STICKS.
The Author:Andy has been writing stories and songs from the time he realized he could do either. Much of his first novel (THE STICKS, Delirium Books, 2009) was written while passing long miles between gigs on the road with his band Bella Morte. Since finishing THE STICKS Andy has completed a novella (THE THIRD HOUSE, Thunderstorm Books, 2010) and a second novel (ALL THE DARKNESS IN THE WORLD) which is due out this fall from Thunderstorm Books.
He is best known as the frontman and lyricist for the internationally renowned alternative rock band Bella Morte. They have released two EPs and seven full-length albums. (Bio excerpt from author's site)
The Publisher:Delirium Books, established in January 1999 by Shane Ryan Staley, is one of the leading specialty presses in the horror genre. Operating in the Midwest (Northern Indiana), Delirium Books has quickly gained the reputation of bringing to print the best new voices in horror fiction, including fan favorites Greg F. Gifune and Michael McBride as well as bestselling author Brian Keene. Delirium has also published established genre authors such as Brian Lumley, James Morrow, Douglas Clegg and David B. Silva.
Delirium Books won the Bram Stoker Award for Excellence in Specialty Press Publishing. This was presented to Delirium Books by the HWA (Horror Writer’s Association) in 2005.(bio excerpt from publisher's site).
Visit the official site of Delirium Books at:
My Comments:The werewolves are primal and the action speeds along in The Sticks, a highly gratifying read that was one of my favorite horror novels of the past couple of years. An ensemble of compelling characters fill this novel, ranging from the rocker/metalhead protagonist, Brian, to Myrtle, a crazy older woman that likes to run out of her house and expose herself to those unlucky enough to be passing by, to Hank, a reclusive fellow living among heaps of odds and ends.
They are all made to contend with the terror of the lycanthropes, who are visceral and brutal. A brooding tension permeates key scenes, delivering horrific payoffs when the shapeshifters make their presence felt.
Yet what lifts this book above other novels of its subgenre is Andy's subtle and skillful touches in the relationships between characters. The developing bond between Brian and Jessica, and the nascent friendship between Brian and Nate are two examples of what elevates this book above the crowd, as characters that you rapidly come to care about are placed into dangerous situations with quite uncertain outcomes.
The Sticks delivers a hard-hitting, well-paced werewolf tale, with the appropriate depths of character development and plot construction needed to bring the horror reader a very satisfying lycanthropic adventure.
So make Andy Deane's The Sticks from Delirium Books the SSP Blog's Pick of the Week!
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