The Resurrectionists (The Salem Hawley Series) – Michael Patrick Hicks
Reviewed by Steve Stred
I for one sometimes get tired of books being compared to movies. I hate the pigeon-holing that can occur from a comparison and an immediate image that we all generate. As an example – if I told you a horror book I was reading reminded me of a comedy movie, you’d be thrown, confused and not sure what to think. If I said a horror book reminded me of a horror movie if you hated that movie, then you might not give the book a chance, right?
Well – at the end of last week, I found myself doing just that over on Twitter. People either saw I was reading this on Goodreads or they themselves tweeted that they wanted to read it and I chimed in.
So to go straight to the guts of what I said – this book is like watching a mashup of the following movies; Gangs of New York and Sweeney Todd (no singing!) Throw in Lovecraftian themes with a medical-gallows narrative running throughout and you have a somewhat good starting point.
Hicks also throws in social themes, based off when the story is set, and he has another winner on his hands.
Lately, I focused more on what the book brought to, minimizing the synopsis a bit, simply because you all can go read the synopsis on Goodreads, or if you’re reading this on Kendall Reviews you can scroll below this review and it’ll be there.
But there are a few plot points I’d love to expand upon a bit here.
The story follows two distinct narratives. The first is the physician’s side. Bodies are being stolen from graves, predominantly from the African-American cemeteries. On the surface, it appears to be more of the same and continued poor treatment of that group of people. Underneath though, we learn of horrible experiments being conducted – a book being used to try and open a door. Hicks does Lovecraft and cosmic horror better than most here. The battlefield scenes were astounding and you’ll find yourself smelling gunpowder and hearing injured men crying for help.
The other part of the story follows our main character – Salem Hawley. Salem is a free man now, and once he finds out about these grave robberies takes it upon himself to bring some attention to it. Soon though he is pulled into something far deeper than he imagined.
If you follow Hicks on any of his social media’s he is very vocal about the state of the world currently and posts/tweets frequently about social injustices and I enjoyed seeing this come through in the character Salem. Not much back story is given about Hawley, but we don’t need it. The way he moves and reacts and cares is enough for us to see the lifeblood Hicks has poured into this character through his words.
I chuckled at the beginning when Hicks included a character with the last name Hicks (Jr too be accurate). ‘Here we go,’ I chuckled, the author pulling a Stephen King movie cameo. But that was my ignorance to the real-life story that this book was based on, and I was glad to see Michael lay out the story (with links) and the liberties he took in the afterword.
I said it before on Twitter, but this was one of the few times I went into a book knowing it’s a part of a trilogy and was happy it was. Usually I struggle with some of those titles because I know not everything will be wrapped up, but in this case, it works really well. The main part is wrapped up and Hicks gives us Hawley’s next direction, which I can’t wait for.
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
The Resurrectionists (The Salem Hawley Series)
Having won his emancipation after fighting on the side of the colonies during the American Revolution, Salem Hawley is a free man. Only a handful of years after the end of British rule, Hawley finds himself drawn into a new war unlike anything he has ever seen.
New York City is on the cusp of a new revolution as the science of medicine advances, but procuring bodies for study is still illegal. Bands of resurrectionists are stealing corpses from New York cemeteries, and women of the night are disappearing from the streets, only to meet grisly ends elsewhere.
After a friend’s family is robbed from their graves, Hawley is compelled to fight back against the wave of exhumations plaguing the Black cemetery. Little does he know, the theft of bodies is key to far darker arts being performed by the resurrectionists. If successful, the work of these occultists could spell the end of the fledgling American Experiment… and the world itself.
The Resurrectionists, the first book in the Salem Hawley series, is a novella of historical cosmic horror from the author of Broken Shells and Mass Hysteria.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…