Published by Retro Rocket Press on June 10th, 2014
Genres: Apocalyptic, Horror, Urban Fantasy
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Everything you need to know about Patrick Rutigliano’s new book, Surviving the Crash, is contained within its succinct blurb. Soon after the stock market crash of 1929, indescribable horrors emerged from the darkness of night to begin devouring man, and it’s up to a group of well organised gangsters to beat back the night and carve out a niche for what remains of humanity within the limits of New York City.
In essence, if the preceding paragraph grabs you, then do yourself a favour and grab this book.
Rutigliano here presents a deftly written and well-constructed series of three novellas which follow chronologically and build upon one another toward an epic finish in which the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The first novella (from which the entire book takes its name) was a fantastic introduction to a dark and horrific alternative world. The monsters – of which there are all manner and type – only come out at night, leaving the surviving humans to scuttle about in the day, trying to organise themselves for when the shadows next lengthen. In and of itself, this concept has been done before in a fantasy setting by Peter V Brett in his Daylight War series, but applying it to an urban landscape adds something new. As does setting it some 80 years ago.
In this context, Rutigliano introduces his against-type action-heroine, Frances, who already has a well-earned reputation as the best monster killer in the business when she is hired by the most powerful mobster in the city to clear out a district that he wants to repopulate with humans. Much of the book is written from her limited, third person perspective, with her newest friend and eventual closest ally, George, providing his perspectives of Frances and their adventures as the narrative demands.
Though I thought the latter two novellas, The Black Saint and Sweating Blood,were not as impressive as the first, they remained entertaining and had me eagerly swiping through my eReader so I could learn what next befell Frances and George. In fact, Rutigliano’s imagination is right up there with his writing skill as the book’s strongest features. My main complaint, however, is that as a reader I was not treated to a longer look at life amongst the monsters in the early days of their arrival and before the gangsters organised themselves into some kind of resistance. Instead the narrative hustled me toward events that would forever change what had transpired, before I’d really come to appreciate the world the author had built.
Regardless, I recommend this to anyone who enjoys horrific undertones with their dark fantasy, and I look forward to reading more from Rutigliano in the hopefully very near future.
4 Reliable Tommy Guns for Surviving the Crash.
The preceding was based on a e-copy of the book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
A long time lover of horror fiction and film and "for fun" writer of the same, I enjoy reviewing what I consume, forever seeking the next high that comes with discovering the next great read.
I have reviewed 81 books so far this year.