Baggage: Simon Paul Wilson & Matt Wildasin
Reviewed By Steve Stred
It could be said that horror/dark fiction stories will fall into one of two categories. The first would be dark, brooding, examinations of humans and that which haunts them. The second would be brash, bold, colorful and filled with action and violence.
Now, I know I’ve really taken an incredibly large genre of storytelling and painted it with a simplistic brush, but if you were to ask most readers, they’d probably agree, that they prefer the slow burners with grief as an anchoring point, or they like the action, shoot-em-up pacing of Urban Fantasy filled with guns, gore and crazy creatures.
I personally enjoy it all. And, after having recently read both a novella from Simon Paul Wilson and his forthcoming collection, this one had me very intrigued. Shamefully, I’ve not yet read anything else from Wildasin, but after reading this one, I’ll definitely be diving in.
So, what should you expect with ‘Baggage’?
Well, what if I told you this was essentially Hellboy/BPRD meets Tales From the Crypt’s Demon Knight and End of Days starring Schwarzenegger?
What I liked: ‘Baggage’ starts off with a literal bang, as three of the four major players in the book, Alice, Zeb and Paloma, carjack a car driven by our other main player, Matt, at gunpoint.
From there, we learn they are all demon hunters in one form or another and that they need to work together to destroy the end game beast in the small town of Salvation.
I don’t think I can do this book justice when I simply say it is action-packed. This is video game levels of ammunition used, as crazy creatures and demons flood towards this group and their guns get drawn and the blasting begins.
But, as the action picks up and up and up, we get layers unravelled, organizations introduced and secrets shared. This made for extra depth added, so it purely isn’t an empty story.
The ending was great, and we get even more emotional leverage shared that really did show the ‘why’ for some characters and the reasoning behind some decisions that were made.
What I didn’t like: The chapters bounced between different first-person POVs and at first, it was jarring. Once I got a handle of the ‘how’ and ‘who’ of what was coming, it flowed well, but over the first four or five chapters, it created some confusion.
Why you should buy this: Well, if my description above of what this book is like didn’t get you ramped up to go demon destroying, I honestly don’t know what will. This travels at 100mph and we get some really great scenes filled with ultra-violence. Every once in a while it’s great to read a story that has you smiling from ear to ear as things go full Pete Tong but the characters welcome it and meet it head-on.
KR: You can read an interview with Simon and Matt about Baggage on Kendall Reviews HERE
Matt Wilson is a demon hunter at the end of his rope.
Paloma, Zeb, and Alice are a trio of misfits working for a clandestine organization.
What starts as a chance meeting on a beach, will take them to the eerie town of Solitude, and into some of the deepest trouble they’ve ever been in. Together, they’ll find out that everyone’s got their demons.
Everyone’s got BAGGAGE.
Steve Stred is the Splatterpunk Nominated Author of ‘Sacrament’ and ‘Mastodon.’
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Steve has released over a dozen novels and novellas as well as a number of collections. He has appeared alongside some of horror’s biggest names within some truly excellent anthologies.
He is a proud co-founder of the LOHF Writer’s Grant and an Active Member of the HWA.