Brutal. Graphically gory. Fast. Furious. Reminiscent of 80s horror creature features. A hugely fun read for the horror fan.
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When a new poison makes its way to exterminators in New York, it doesn’t have quite the desired effect. This is a story about accidentally genetically modified ultra violent rats swarming New York and the attempts to stop them before its too late. That will either sell you on the story or it won’t. Subtlety isn’t what Hunter Shea is aiming for here, if you are looking for a slow burn horror story that builds tension I refer you to his novel We Are Always Watching which I reviewed recently here. If you like fast paced action horror of the creature feature variety, then this book is perfect. Paced to within an inch of its life, the story starts fast and gets faster as the crisis builds.
Our observers of the impending Rat Apocalypse are Chris and Benita Jackson, no nonsense New Yorkers who have been in the extermination game for over twenty years. They are tasked by the city overlords with using a new poison, Degeneisis, which is designed to halt the rat population by making them infertile, eliminating them in a generation or so. Quite the opposite actually happens, the rate of reproduction increases exponentially and with it comes violent genetic mutations. As the population increases so does the crisis, giving rise to some wonderful set pieces, in one rather memorable case involving a flame thrower. For fans of action and horror, creature features, B-Movies, this story is like a drug, a highly addictive page turner.
Action isn’t all that drives the story though, our characters are fully realized from the central couple of Chris and Benita whose perspective drives the narrative to the sympathetic veteran via the villain you love to hate, there is a lot of ourselves and our experiences to recognize here and give the story that essential grounding in a world we can recognise. Who at some stage in their life hasn’t encountered a nasty piece of work whose primary aim is to assign blame and cover their own ass? I’ve certainly worked for at least one.
Rattus New Yorkus is one of a series of creature novels that She has dubbed ‘One Size Eats All’. I will definitely be checking the others out. I had a huge amount of fun with this story and hope you do to.