Friday, June 9, 2017

It came from the comic book ads

Just Add Water

Hunter Shea

Publisher: Lyrical Underground 

Pub. Date: June 13, 2017

Rating: 3 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Hunter Shea is my go-to guy for monster stories. He writes them so well. If you are looking for urban legend creatures, monsters from the deep. animal lab experiments gone forth, or pretty much any type of creature you can name, he has you covered. But in Just Add Water he brings forth a rather violence and gruesome fiend from an unusual source. One that you baby boomers will certainly recognize with a bit of nostalgia.

Remember those ads in the comic book for sea monkeys? They were actually sneakily named brine shrimp. In real life, they never looked as good as the cartoon drawing meant to sell them. Yet many a kid was taken in only to get little ugly specks and muddy water. In Just Add Water, David and Patrick answers a similar comic book ad for Amazing Sea Serpents. Nothing happens, the water smells, and they end up dumping it down the toilet. Yet something does happen once the shit hits the sewer, so to speak. Eventually the sea serpents grow up and come back. That is when all the flesh ripping and eating begins.

There is a reason for these creatures and we do eventually get an explanation. but as it is in the best storytelling, the fun is getting there. While all Hunter Shea novels are fun this one seem slightly tongue-in-cheek, kind of Spielbergian 80s teen tongue-in-cheek. David and Patrick rules the day as they battle the creatures and leave the adults behind scratching their heads, as least the ones who survive. Just Add Water, despite some violence of the killer monster variety, is quick, comic book gruesome, and roller coastery. Maybe too quick. It is short at under 100 pages and in need of some fleshing out, no pun intended. But as just plain monster fun, it works. You might want to find a longer Hunter Shea novel to get the idea of what he really can do but if this one comes your way, grab it and enjoy it.

Note: It appears Just Add Water is the first of a series called Mail Order Massacres featuring horrors based on those funky comic books ads. The next one will be Optical Delusion and I already preordered it. That may give you an idea how much fun I found the first installment.

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