By Adam Cesare & Cameron Pierce
Publisher: Severed Press
Pub. date: March 30, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Adam Cesare is one of the most promising horror writers on the horizon. Cameron Pierce is an established star of the Bizarro circuit whose recent writings has branched into the more mainstream literary circles. In Crawling Darkness, we have them collaborating on...a monster tale? Not only a monster tale but one that is vaguely familiar from old B-movies about killer piranhas, lampreys and pretty much any old disgusting fish creature you can think of. Here we have eels. Personally, I think eels are kind of cute and they taste good. Most people do not hold my fondness for eels though. In Pierce and Cesare's hands, they are certainly anything but cute and have a unfortunate ability to swarm pretty much anywhere and shred you into bite size pieces. This brief novel is full of the expected in this type of tale; bloody attacks, secret government conspiracies, a hit man, unlikely heroes...the whole kit and kaboodle.
And that is why I liked Crawling Darkness so much. It feels comfortably familiar but is unlike anything either Pierce or Cesare would do on their own. They seem to bring out the fun in each other. The attacks are terrifying, the dialogue is sharp, and the plot moves like wildfire. There are some interesting and colorful characters here and if some don't last too long, there will be another. I just wish it was longer than the less than 100 pages it is.
Novels with killer creatures are a staple of the horror genre. So much so that they need to stand out with something special if you want to keep the reader interested. Pierce and Cesare's eels are something special. The authors manages to make the story terrifying but also endow the tale with a lot of wit and imagination. In some ways it feels like a tribute to those b-movie creature features I mentioned before. I really wish I could have gone five stars on it but the brevity and the reliance on old but entertaining horror gimmicks kept it from being as original as it could have been. However, putting that aside, Crawling Darkness is a real kick in the butt for the monster lover. Sometimes the best scares are the old scares and Pierce and Cesare certainly know how to scare. This is the type of book you will want to read with one light on and a brew and a snack available on the side. I recommend eel sushi.