Broken Shells – Michael Patrick Hicks
Reviewed by Steve Stred
Ah! Broken Shells! What a ride.
Ok, so let’s back up here a minute. To be perfectly upfront – I frequently interact with Michael on a few platforms. He posts a ton of great content and I have reached out to him about places to submit stories. He has been generous with his time and has given me some great advice.
How happy am I that he can spin a yarn!
Broken Shells is a hard novella to accurately describe. It has a highly topical beginning and ending that sandwiches a very grotesque creature-feature in the middle.
The story follows the main character, Antoine. He is a hardworking man, trying to provide for his girlfriend and their son Helix. Antoine finds himself always down on his luck, since a previous arrest. Hicks fleshes out the back story throughout, which helps continually push the survival aspect of the middle creature-feature section amazingly.
After Antoine is fired from his job, his girlfriend believes they have won $5000 from a car dealership scratch ticket. So against his better judgement, Antoine heads to the dealership to see if it’s real. Little does he know what the dealership sits above.
The creatures that Hicks have conjured are gruesome, and using the basis of true Native American lore was such a great touch, lending to heighten the anxiety as Antoine fights to stay alive. This usage of true folktale lore works so much better than when a movie slaps a “Based on a True Story” tag at the beginning.
Then we get to the finale, and the topical aspect of the story rears its hideous horrible head.
Hicks does such a great job of pulling us back from the creature-feature and returning us to ‘real-life’ that you will be shocked, angered and saddened as you reach the conclusion.
The story finishes with what I considered an epilogue, and really drove home a few elements of the overall story, which helped elevate the story. Such a great ending to a great story.
So in closing, I highly recommend you check this out.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4.5*
Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.
Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.
When Antoine steps foot on Dangle’s car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle’s secrets do not kill him first.
Steve has a new book coming out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Please read the following announcement and we’d love it if you could preorder ‘Dim The Sun’.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark 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.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
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