I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.by David Bernstein
Published by Great Old Ones Publishing on July , 2016
Genres: Creature Feature, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Sci-Fi
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Deep in Montana's Lolo National Forest, toxic waste is leaking from aged oil drums and mixing with a new batch of biological sludge that has been dumped into a remote lake. It sickens, it mutates, and like cancer, it spreads and devours.
A group of hikers stumble upon bank robbers who've been hiding out in the forest. Held at gunpoint, they soon discover they are being hunted by a vicious predator, and it will take their combined efforts to make it out of the forest alive.
THE SLUDGE, by David Bernstein starts out with three separate groups of people, and combines their actions into one large “creature-feature” gore fest. In the Southeast of Montana lies the Lolo National Forest, “an over two million acre stretch of protected land”. Unfortunately, Bull and his partner, Nate, have been using its remote lake as a dumping ground for oil drums filled with toxic waste. When The Jennings Chemical Corporation calls them for an immediate, covert dumping of their biological sludge, the two pawns think nothing of mixing it into their favorite drop off point.
After all, toxic waste and biological sludge combined–what could possibly go wrong?
Bring in the Garrett brothers, bank robbers who felt this remote area would be the perfect hide-out for them until the heat is off, and a wealthy group of four New Yorkers out for a “back-to-nature” vacation, and a great problem suddenly emerges. Now, there’s a new food source for the unintentional combination in the lake that is taking over and assimilating all possible life forms.
Bernstein managed to get some really detailed characterization into this short novel, so I felt that I knew the motivations and instincts of each one of them. Whether intentional or not, I sympathized with all of these characters as the sludge began to expand its boundaries and infiltrate the area. Even parts where you might think, “I wouldn’t do that in this situation!“, become believable with the right behavioral traits and motivational factors.
This was one of those creature tales that leave you needing to root for someone–anyone–to figure things out and get in touch with the proper authorities. In addition to a “fun” escapade of mutilations and carnage, this book delivers with an ending that I did not predict!