From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of THE HAUNTED FOREST TOUR and WOLF HUNT comes another action-packed over-the-top creature feature!
Rusty Moss has raised his niece Mia since she was a baby. Now that she’s almost eighteen, he’s worried that the life he’s given her—living off the grid in a cabin deep in the woods—is holding her back from her full potential. But that angst gets pushed aside when the undead forest animals arrive.
At first it’s just a squirrel—shockingly violent and almost impossible to kill. Followed by a grizzly bear, also aggressive and resilient, even when point-blank shotgun blasts to the face are involved.
Now the cabin is surrounded by all manner of zombie creatures. They have no way to call for help. The truck that could take them to safety is three miles away, stuck in the mud.
But Rusty and Mia have their courage. They have their wits. And, most importantly, they have an axe and a fully fueled chainsaw…
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Horror After Dark Review
FEROCIOUS, by Jeff Strand, is a novel that instantly put me in mind of the character “Ash” in the Evil Dead movies–albeit without the human zombies. This was an unapologetic gore fest of severed limbs and decapitated bodies, full of inappropriate dark humor.
In short, it was just the sort of novel I love.
For readers familiar with Jeff Strand’s work, his sarcasm and twisted humor are a given, present in even his more “serious-toned” books. This novel doesn’t disappoint.
We have Rusty, a young man living alone in his cabin, surrounded by woods for miles. He makes a living selling handmade furniture and interacting with other humans as little as possible. At least he did, until the day a lawyer pulled up with tragic news, and Rusty’s infant niece.
“. . . Even with the bandage, she was way less ugly than most of the babies he’d seen.”
Then we have Uncle Rusty and a grown up–and just as sarcastic–Mia. I love the banter between them, with even the most common of topics carrying a comedic thread that never wanes.
Things start out slowly enough, but keep in mind two things: One, they live in a cabin miles away from the nearest road, and Two, Jeff Strand is the author.
“. . . It would have been easier to stab it, like somebody picking up litter in a park, but that seemed oddly disrespectful, even though the squirrel already had a hole in it . . . “
The entire time I read this, I had no problems visualizing it as a movie. We have the over-the-top actors, the forest acting as a natural barrier between them and the rest of the world, and of course, my mind was conjuring up all the different types of wildlife that call that area home. (Living in the middle of the country, being brought up on horror movies as a child, helped my imagination tremendously).
“Though it was difficult to gauge homicidal intent in the gaze of a squirrel, this thing really did give the impression of wanting to kill him.”
Is this the novel of the century that’s going to challenge your rational thinking?
Most probably not.
However, it is an extremely action-packed novel that will likely get you laughing at inappropriate comments and scenes. That alone makes reading it worthwhile, in my opinion.
“What could possibly have happened in this forest to make the inhabitants not care if their nose got sawed off?”
Overall, I could read just about any kind of book this author puts out, and enjoy it immensely–regardless of the subject matter. It’s his unique style that pulls me into his characters’ lives, the situation they’re in, and whatever adversary they encounter. In this case, it happens to be undead forest creatures. How could you not enjoy a book like that?
“. . . Rusty could tell that she was leaning much more toward ‘the entire forest is full of undead horrors’.”
There were a few places in the novel where the dialog and action felt a bit repetitive, but it didn’t take long for the situation to alter, and for some new, darkly horrific–yet somehow still comedic–event to stir things up a bit. If you’ve read anything by Jeff Strand in the past, or enjoy sarcasm mixed with your horror, then you’ll want to check FEROCIOUS out. (Of course, if you were foolish enough to buy you OWN house in the middle of the country, surrounded by squirrels, deer, fox, coyote, turkey, and dozens of other animals in place of humans, you may finding yourself cursing the author every time you have to go take your mini-doodle for a walk at night….)
You may also want to avoid the mud . . .
About The Author
About Jeff Strand
Jeff Strand is a four-time nominee (and zero-time winner, but c’mon, he lost to Stephen King TWICE!) of the Bram Stoker Award. He is a two-time nominee and one-time WINNER!!!! of the Splatterpunk Award.
His novels are usually classified as horror, but they’re really all over the place, almost always with a great big dose of humor. He’s written five young adult novels that all fall into the “really goofy comedy” category.
His book STALKING YOU NOW was adapted into the feature film MINDY HAS TO DIE, which premiered at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in Belfast, Ireland.
He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and one gigantic freaking cat.