Stranded: Renee Miller
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Man alive, I am on a Miller kick and it’s been outstanding.
Having recently cruised through ‘Church,’ ‘Cats Like Cream,’ and ‘Howl,’ I’ve now landed on ‘Stranded.’
I had attempted to read 5 of Renee’s books in 5 days recently, and sadly I failed. But this is book 4 of 5 and I’ll be starting ‘Blood Lake Monster‘ most likely tomorrow.
What I liked: So, what can I pass on to potential new readers of Miller that I’ve discovered from reading so much of her work in a short period of time? A few things. Miller creates real, raw characters. She doesn’t make anyone a photoshopped version of themselves. We get the good and the bad. Miller also doesn’t shy away from ramping up anything and going into NC-17 territory, which happens a few times in ‘Stranded.’ That is not a bad thing at all. It actually elevated the tension and the scenarios.
‘Stranded‘ follows both a cast of characters chosen to participate in a pilot reality series and some of the crew filming it. It’s a survival/romance show. The creator and producer is hoping that by pairing up three groups consisting of a man and a woman and plopping them someone completely isolated they’ll fall for each other while surviving. At the same time, tasks will come their way to earn rewards etc. Last team standing wins.
From that straightforward idea, Miller gives us some of the best icy filled gore since ‘The Thing‘ movie by Carpenter and really shifts into high gear when we get some incredibly fantastic back story. I can’t say too much more, but it was amazing to see that it wasn’t simply a mindless, mutated killing machine.
What I didn’t like: There were a few moments where characters did some things that seemed ‘off’ of what I’d expected from them, but nothing overtly annoying. It is a survival story around a survival show, so people will often do ridiculous things when money is a motivator.
Why you should buy it: ‘Stranded‘ is Miller operating at her absolute best. From the other books I’ve read of hers, this took all of the fantastic parts and tossed them in a blender. If you read any of my reviews, you’ll know I love, love, love, icy-winter settings and the added throw-in of the reality show concept was a blast.
If you need to start anywhere with Miller, this is the place to do it. She’s become a must-read author for me, in a short period of time, and I suspect soon she’ll fall into that category for you as well.
Six contestants pair off into three teams of one man and one woman as part of a pilot season for a new reality show called Stranded. The challenge: Survive thirty days in a hostile and brutal environment for a chance to split a half-million-dollar prize.
Victor, the show’s creator, chooses the northern Arctic as the first location, but after a single day, his mistake is clear: They are not alone.
Their presence awakens a relentless and unforgiving predator that feeds on greed, lust and fear.
In this game, the lucky ones get to die.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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