Farallon Island: Russell James
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Anytime we get a new Russell James release is a time to celebrate. Honestly, I wish I had more time available to read all of James’ work, but when his next release from Silver Shamrock was offered for review, I jumped on it.
James is a master at writing action and fast-paced thrills/adventure stories, so I was curious to see what he’d be able to conjure up with a book set in an isolated location. Farallon Island is a real place and with him using it as the backdrop with a Lighthouse as the focal point, I was ready to see just what he delivered.
What I liked: The story follows a husband and wife, who are expecting their first child, as they arrive on Farallon Island. The husband is set to work at the Lighthouse, but things quickly take a turn and carnage ensues.
I’d love to share more, but this story really ramps up to 100mph within the first few chapters and in order to remain spoiler-free, I’ll be vague.
The action in this is fast and furious and reminiscent of a George R.R. Martin novel, no character is safe. In fact, the body count in this, just might be the highest I’ve read in some time, which really is something considering just how isolated and small the setting is.
James appears to have written this with a cheeky grin on his face, as time and time again we get unexpected moments and I picture him turning to his cat, Timothy and saying “Ha! they won’t have expected that!” It’s true, Russell. We didn’t. (And you did!)
The ending of this was great and while I wished we’d have learned a little bit more about a few of the spots on the island, I think it worked really well.
What I didn’t like: While I did love that this story starts off at 99.9mph before accelerating to the full 100mph, I found it made for some disconnection between me and the characters. I wasn’t fully sure of who each one was and as the body count started to rise, some of the oomph factor was lessened because of that.
Why you should buy this: I’m a big fan of James’ work and every time I see him have a new release coming out, I get excited. ‘Farallon Island’ is another fun rip through James’ bread and butter – action/adventure with supernatural flares and this one doesn’t let up. A quick, fast-paced read, I think this one’s perfect for his long time fans and new ones as well.
Nate Thalmann wants to escape his life as a Prohibition Era bootlegger. He moves with his pregnant wife Alice to the Farallon Island lighthouse, situated on a rocky islet twenty-seven miles off the California coast.
Joining three other keepers and their families, he hopes for peace and a deep reconnection with his wife.
But one of the keeper’s children finds a secret cave, and releases a malicious entity imprisoned within. It possesses a former keeper and soon the islanders are being stalked and slaughtered. The demon within the keeper plans to only leave Alice alive, at least until she’s given birth to her child, who will become the demon’s permanent vessel.
With no radio, no resupply, and no weapons, it is up to Nate to keep his wife and unborn child safe. But the body-hopping fiend seems to always be one step, and one corpse, ahead of him. Will anyone survive wrath of the demon of Farallon Island?
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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