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.JACKALS by Stuart R. Brogan
Published by Midgard Books on January 23, 2017
Genres: Crime, Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Suspense, Thriller
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From the aftermath of a brutal massacre at a rural police station, two survivors leave behind a swathe of bodies and a cryptic sigil painted on the wall, in blood.
A disgraced Detective Inspector begrudgingly starts to investigate the crime scene but as the facts begin to emerge the trail appears to lead into the highest echelons of power, making the policeman himself the next target.
As the conspiracy spirals ever deeper and with no-one to trust, both prime suspect and policeman are forced into an unlikely alliance to prove, not only their innocence, but the existence of a force so ingrained into our society, it could rewrite the very fabric of human nature.
JACKALS is the debut novel by author Stuart R. Brogan. I would definitely classify this as both horror and thriller–with a heavy dose of psychological-horror present all throughout. Aside from a few scenes I felt relatively unnecessary in the beginning of the book, this was an astonishingly good read–especially considering it is a “debut”.
“. . . Trust no one!”
The beginning starts off with a bang–a bloodbath with only the use of primitive weapons, designed to cause the most brutal of deaths. The author gives virtually no information as to the “why” at this point, deciding instead to intersperse select pieces of the puzzle all throughout the length of the novel, intending the reader to find and put them together. This turned out to be a great tactic, as I couldn’t stop at any point–each new chapter I wanted to delve into in order to find out more. All the while, Brogan continues to build up his characters, giving us more traits, personality, and insight into their personal lives.
“. . . I have an addictive personality, hell; maybe I’m just addicted to the drama created by my own addiction . . . “
We come to realize that there are groups called “Jackals”: four individuals in each group, including one with the title of “The Selected”, and three followers. Their sole existence is to bring about what they refer to as “The Primitive”–their own idea of a perfect state, where killing at will is the sign of true evolution and power. They kill indiscriminately, and answer only to a council of highest members that govern “The Order”. Their connections are numerous, and their reach beyond belief. If not for the fact that Brogan gives enough information that actually connects a multitude of events along the way, I don’t know how well this would have worked. As it stands, there were some twists that even I didn’t predict, but when going back, all the clues were there.
“. . . They are without doubt some of the most dangerous people out there and the worrying thing is that ninety-nine percent of the population doesn’t even know they exist . . .”
Felix and his group of Jackals stumble upon Jesse and Damien Reid on the eve of their sixteenth wedding anniversary, and just like that, the hunt is on. What Felix doesn’t count on though, is that Jesse is a survivor–unlike the prey, or “carrion” that they are used to. Eventually she pairs up with a drunk, sometimes addict, policeman named Lewis Class. Class is marked by the Jackals for learning too much–much more than ever expected–about them, than he should have. Together, the two make an almost comical couple at times, able to inject a little humor into this dire situation just because of their vast differences. This is a combination that works wonderfully, and continues to propel the reader along at breakneck speed each step of the way. Despite their issues, I couldn’t help but root for them over the elite that wanted them dead–for nothing more than the fact that they existed.
“. . . These people are nothing but cattle and we are the jackals feeding upon their carcasses. They serve no other purpose than to give our lives meaning . . . “
The story introduces many new complex characters and situations along its journey. The adrenaline seems to NEVER let up as we proceed from one scene to the next.
“. . . Life was a gift that many did not deserve . . . “
Jesse’s strength seems–to me–to give Class the added incentive he needs to keep fighting, even when he feels that this is a battle impossible for them to survive.
“. . . this was no Hollywood movie and the good guys rarely win in the real world . . . “
For a debut novel, Stuart R. Brogan has certainly made an impression on me as someone to expect great things from in the future. His intricate plots, twists, engaging characters, and unrelenting action didn’t give me a single place that I felt was “good” to stop reading for the night. Looking back over the novel, I was able to discern more clearly the expertise he showed in his subtle clues and shifts.
Still, the ending caught my jaw dropping in absolute, unexpected shock.
“. . . To kill is to live . . . “
JACKALS is a great, engaging novel from the first to the last page, from a strong, emerging author.