My ex-brother in law would pick up “Granddaddy Long Legs” and throw them on me as a child. These long legged, spindly spiders are technically not a real spider according to Wikipedia. But, there was no such thing as Wikipedia when I was five. I was scarred for life. To this day, I hate spiders. I hate spiders! I have arachnaphobia! Snakes don’t bother me. But, spiders?
Beckon by Tom Pawlik has the grandaddy long leg of all spiders. And, he manages to combine my fear of spiders with one of my other great fears, drowning! And all of that is in the first few chapters!
Listen, this is no book for the faint of heart. It was dark. It was disturbing. It was deadly. The body count built up very quickly and many of the deaths were unexpected and sudden. I recalled a certain character portrayed by Samuel Jackson getting eaten by a giant shark in the first act of that ill fated shark movie.
So, let me divide my book review into three sections, one for each of the main characters. We’ll start with Jack Kendrick, a college student who lost his father at an early age and is now about to set out on an adventure with his best childhood buddy, Rudy, to Wyoming. There, Jack hopes to track down the markings on a strange artifact left by his father at the time of his disappearance. Along the way, they meet up with Ben Graywolf, a North American Indian familiar with the mysterious waterfalls through which his father evidently disappeared. Ben takes them into the caves in search of the elusive N’Watu people and their “Soul Eater”.
They end up climbing through the waterfall and into all kinds of endless caves until they find a hidden world in which these horrific spider creatures live. These crab like spider things are huge and quite ravenous and are being raised and herded by a hidden race of mysterious entities beneath the mountain. As Jack and his friends watch, they realize that someone, somewhere is bringing human beings into the caves as sacrifices for this hidden race of beings in exchange for some kind of precious commodity. And, the sacrifices are well, fed, to the . . .
Sorry, I don’t want to give away too much of the opening plot. Suffice it to say that Jack is almost attacked by one of these creatures; almost discovered by a fierce warrior of this hidden race; and almost drowns trying to escape from the caves. And, when he does escape, he discovers that returning to civilization is only the beginning of his woes.
The positives about this first section are the fast pace and obvious strong and surprising horrific elements. And, this author is not afraid of killing off major characters for the sake of the story so be prepared for a number of disturbing deaths. Did I say it before? The bodies pile up very quickly. Also, Tom Pawlik definitely excels at creating atmosphere from the creepy moving things in the dark cavern to the claustrophobic passages through underwater tunnels. I found myself holding my breath more than once and frankly, I had a few nightmares the first night.
Of course, this is just the beginning of a very involved story so come back tomorrow for part two.
Book link – http://www.amazon.com/Beckon-Tom-Pawlik/dp/1414338732/
Author’s Web site – http://www.tompawlik.com/
Author Blog – http://tompawlik.blogspot.com/
Author Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Pawlik/42692434035
Author Twitter account – https://twitter.com/#!/TomPawlik
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