Screechers – Kevin J. Kennedy & Christina Bergling
Reviewed By Steve Stred
For many in the horror world the name Kevin J. Kennedy immediately springs forth visions of fantastic, top-level horror collections. His output is staggering and time and time again he collects some of the best names in the genre to fill the pages (hint, hint – Kevin my inbox is always open!).
He is also an incredible horror author and recently announced a new collaboration with fellow author Christina Bergling. That collaboration – Screechers, and what a well done outing it is.
The novella is a quick sprint through a barren landscape. Life as we currently know it has ended some time ago. The authors allude to the setting being post-nuclear winter. The cities have been abandoned and lay in ruin. Some survivors still exist, but some new things have joined the world.
The story is split into two narratives. The first tale follows two brothers and a friend, aptly named Brooklyn, Denver and Austin as they make their way across the landscape, searching for what’s out there. They’ve been told that nothing exists beyond their settlement and that no other humans are out there. After an incident that the authors minimally fill in through a bit of back story, they’ve left the settlement and continue forward. The three don’t get along much but they’ve made a pact and are sticking together.
The other narrative is told from the Screechers point of view. These new creatures have also left the city behind, looking for new food sources. The story follows an infant creature and its uncle as they travel and inevitably run into our three humans.
To keep this spoiler free, the story takes an interesting turn from there and it was a nice change from the typical creature-feature, post-apocalyptic plot.
Overall I had fun with this one, I was able to devour it in one sitting and found the prose to be an effortless read. I found one big ‘battle’ scene to be a bit bogged down with a few random things, but that was a mild distraction!
For those looking for a new take on an old story, I would definitely recommend!
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
In the apocalyptic fallout of the burned world, the screecher is a massive beast evolved to kill and built for survival. One screecher abandons its home among the crushed remnants of a city and moves to explore the wider world. Unbeknownst to it, one of its surviving nephews decides to tag along.
Far away, across the dusty sand dunes, three men flee the smoldering ashes of their community along with their regrets, looking for a new place to survive.
These two stories, of screechers and humans, alternate and dance around each other before the creatures and men intersect and weave into one story.
In the scorched remains, everything struggles to survive. The end of the world produced mutated monsters beyond imagination. When worlds collide, when man meets monster, who will survive in this new world?
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
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.