Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

Epeolatry Book Review: Animal Uprising! from Nightmare Press

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Title: Animal Uprising! 
Author: Various
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Nightmare Press
Release Date: 9th April 2019

Synopsis:  A lion, a hybrid, a bear – oh no! A goat, a gull, and a big black dog! Can’t forget the roaches, the deer flies, and the tarantula hawk, or the abominable insect that rises from the earth! We got creepy crawlers and killer critters for everyone. Oh, you want mythical creatures? How about a malevolent spirit posed as a fox, a rambunctious jackalope, or a herd of unicorn-gazelles on a distant planet? Let’s not forget the supernatural silver stag with the power to raise the dead. Oh, did I mention the giant mantis shrimp? Yeah – we got a giant mantis shrimp. Humankind really has their work cut out for them in this collection of terrifying tales of beastly butchery. Need to know more? Check out Animal Uprising! for all of the mayhem.

Man’s despotic existence over the animal kingdom has finally brought him to reap what he has sown in this collection of fourteen tales.

A goat, the symbol of resistance and opposition, becomes an omen of death in “The Goat” by Michelle Mellon. Street-smart but tired and desperate, Aiysha, along with three other girls, were on a live-and-work farm, an alternative to juvenile detention. Mysterious deaths were marked by the goat’s presence. Would anyone be able to outsmart it?

Sea gulls, rapacious in their effortless gliding, are more than obnoxious to anyone who’s ever had a morsel of food displayed in their presence. “The Gull” by David Turton starred a particularly invasive bird who couldn’t get the job done on its own. No worries, there was a flock eager to pick up where it left off.

Two stories brought me the joy of revenge. “Old Shuck” by Patrick Winters featured a Scrooge boss. I enjoyed every moment of his pleading to God (who he had never put faith in) as canine predators advanced. “Tarantula Hawk” by Kevin Folliard featured a formidable employee out to stake claim on what was hers, and to right a wrong, while using the largest wasp on Earth to do it.

Daisy Tucker tried as she might in “How Does Your Garden Grow,” written by M. R. Deluca, to keep her unusual kaleidoscope of flowers and shrubs to herself. Enter a pesky reporter trying too hard and invading her sacred space. Enter Pokey, her befriended jackalope. With the sharp horns…

“The Day of the Deer Flies” by Stanley B. Webb transported incapacitating deer fly bites on its pages. The desperation of paralysis!

The diver on a research team encountered more than underwater lava flow and volcanic rock towers in “Upsweep” by Rebecca Gransden. Would the illuminated cable and her reinforced suit be enough to withstand what lies below?

“The Fox” by Judith Baron was a tricky and clever story about an eight-tailed fox, turned human, turned fox.

“Taxidermy Nightmare,” authored by one half of the Frightening Floyds, Jacob Floyd, kept me wriggling with its bizarre creations – dog head on a doe, bird head on a chipmunk, and other abominations of mammalian beauty. I warmed to the nine-foot silver deer that had the main character atone for his actions.

“Child of the Earth:  A Tale of the Bajazid” by Kenneth Bykerk took me back in time to the Mortenson Mine of 1890. The horror of cricket-like bugs invading the miners’ human orifices was foul in its own right, but was there something else – something worse – deeper inside the mine?

Another bug invasion grossed me out in “Grime” by Hannah Shannon. Roaches falling from the ceiling, getting in hair and underneath clothes. The sickening details forced me to keep reading!

Unicorn fierceness and tenacity in “Radish Hunting” by Melinda Brasher made me feel less empowered as a human. “The shot echoed against the bluffs, but the herd didn’t scatter. Twenty sets of eyes stared at her.” The helplessness!

I empathized with the part crocodile/part pig that got a bad rap in “Crocopork” by Liam Hogan. Just because most were dangerous didn’t mean Winston was, too. Did it?

My favorite story was “The Lion, the Witch, and the Walrus,” written by J. T. Haven in irreverent and matter-of-fact humor. Jimmy, poor guy, not the first person to wake up in a strange place after a night with a stranger, but maybe the first to find himself suspended horizontally over a cage of lions. The author had me rooting for him as the final showdown neared.

I felt the power of the uprising throughout this anthology. The authors’ interests in the creatures they produced was apparent. The creations were anything but ordinary and everything from predatory to annihilating.

4/5 stars

Available from Amazon.

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