Infernal – Cheryl Low
Reviewed by Michelle Enelen
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Grinning Skull Press (24 Oct. 2018)
If you read the first page, before the prologue, the tone of this book will envelop you. All the answers are right there, but only after you finish the last page. It’s an intriguing wrap around. Cheryl Low gives room to description, it works well with the imagination, making you feel the sultry air. It’s wet, heavy, it wants to wrap itself around you. At times, the atmosphere seems oppressive, but it’s also exciting. These people want to be here, most of them, at least in the beginning.
Oh, the beginning! Sharks, divers with cameras, sharks that are pissed off and sick of divers. Quite a bit of blood and excitement before the main story begins, before it gets darker and more terror-inducing. The shark action is very well done, detailed enough to be horrifying, but not so much that it’s over the top. It stays believable and doesn’t move into supernatural too quickly. She did a fantastic job with the depth of characters, letting you decide whether to invest in them or wish the shark encounter had been more selective. The sisters in this story have a familiar bond, nothing too sugary or hateful, regular sisters that have their good/bad moments and genuinely care about each other. I think that’s what draws you into this story, human relationships. When they go wrong, you feel it.
There are animals, of course, it’s the jungle. I enjoy camping and watching nature shows, but I am not adventurous enough to go traipsing off through the jungle with a machete and a camera crew, no matter how experienced they are. The animals are far more experienced, through evolution and knowledge of the terrain. We are not the alphas in nature, not barehanded and naked we’re not. The big bear scene in Revenant cements the knowledge of that and it was only one bear. In Low’s jungle, there are many creatures capable of proving that you don’t belong. A troupe of reportedly vegetarian howler monkeys cackling at you and herding you along would be plenty to fear, but then she adds an ancient being. Trapped, just like you. but stronger and far more cunning.
There were only two questionable decisions in this story. One, you will have to read for yourself because I’m not here to spoil a good book. I will say, maybe I’ve watched too many movies or read too many tales because the ending was predictable, I mean only the very end. The rest of the book took me on a helluva jungle cruise, her descriptions were so clear, I could hear the sounds, feel the heat, and the terror. The other misfit was when a very experienced survivor decides to go off alone with the thing she doesn’t trust, a thing that is likely to be the killing force of this jungle. It does give way to the wrap-around, the nature of the occurrences that have gone on for years, so I did see it’s purpose. I simply found the situation implausible. Of course, everybody’s an expert when they’re only the voyeur.
Overall it was a very well written book. Cheryl Low has done a thorough job with her descriptions and relationships. It’s the kind of book that will have you invested in the main character. It will take you there, and that is the point of an enjoyable book.
Shrouded in Mystery
The locals call it Isla de los Perdidos.
Island of the Lost.
According to the legends, those who venture onto the shores of this cursed island never return.
Valarie DeNola and her sister Julie have chosen to ignore the legends and the warnings. They have been selected to lead a team of explorers to the island to discover the mystery surrounding it. But once ashore, they become cut off from the outside world, and what they discover is something they could never have prepared for.
Inhabited by Death
Now they must fight against an unknown presence that is picking them off one by one. No one can be trusted, and when even nature rises up against them, all seems lost. Their one hope is the extraction team they know is coming.
But will any of them survive to see it arrive?
Raised by Pentecostal preachers, horror was not a readily available commodity. As her love grew, her parents were occasionally summoned to school to talk about book reports and various projects that weren’t quite appropriate for her age. They were lost as to where she’d gotten such “trash”. Luckily for her, there was a librarian that understood her insatiable hunger for darker worlds. Even now, if she could, she’d live among the stacks.
Her penchant grew to include ghastly movies and music, which she’ll happily share with anyone listening. The love of horror continues with her favorite videogame, “House of the Dead, Overkill”. She’s not the best gamer, except when defending herself against the wrong monsters. Headshots are her speciality.