Cavallaro's Cavalcade of Carnage
In the interest of getting these reviews out on time, I'm doing all three novellas at once. They are:

Slattery Falls, by Brennan LaFaro
Savage Island, by Brian Moreland
Ride or Die, by James Newman

Slattery Falls is a ghost story, which is somewhat of a risky move as a debut novel. Ghost stories in the hands of inexperienced writers often fail. Reason being, there are so many tropes related to this type of plot. A writer either has to rise above that with great writing, or introduce a new idea. Another problem typical of ghost stories is the dreaded second act. First Act: introduce characters, and a few creepy situations. Check. Most writers pull this off. Second Act: characters learn more about the ghosts. This can become a problem, because the more the reader learns about the ghost(s), the less compelling they can become. Third Act: This is usually where the writer shows that their ghost story is different from the others. First act and third act were no problem here. The second act had a few information dumps that got a little dull. Maybe they could've been "dumped" a little more organically? I don't know. Either way, I think Brennan has a bright career ahead.

Grade: C

Next up was Savage Island by Brian Moreland. I was sure this book was headed for an A or B grade for the first half of the novella. The villains were sufficiently hate-able and the plot was moving along swiftly. Then when the supernatural aspect of the plot really kicked in, I lost interest. Not sure why. Maybe it was my fault, but I'm still blaming Brian.

Grade: C

Now for Ride or Die by James Newman, which was easily the best of the three. The plot is fairly simple, which makes me want to divulge none of it. This is a REALLY fast-moving novella, which seems to be Newman's forte. If you are a fan of Newman (and you should be), this is amongst his best. It's not perfect (but his novella, Odd Man Out, just might be), but it is one of the better horror novellas I've read this year.

Grade: B

Reviews by Jason Cavallaro
Twitter: @pinheadspawn

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry