THEY HUNGER (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, August 04, 2007
Being shopped around Hollywood studios as “DELIVERANCE with vampires,” Scott Nicholson’s instant classic They Hunger puts the psychological punch back into good ole-fashioned supernatural thrillers.
Author of 2006’s The Farm, Nicholson amps up the pacing and returns to the great outdoors with a veritable rainbow of colorful characters. Haunted by the memory of his late wife, hiking and rafting guide Bowie Whitlock signs on for one last gig as leader of the new ProVentures outdoors group.
Complete with a photographer, a company spokesman, and a spattering of B-list fitness celebrities, Bowie’s team tackles the class V rapids of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountain range to test out next year’s lineup of ProVentures sporting equipment. As if the clashing personalities of the group weren’t enough trouble for the potentially dangerous outing, something far more volatile is making its way through the stretch of uninhabited wilderness.
While searching for the ‘Bama Bomber Ace Goodall, a pro-life religious fanatic with a knack for blowing up abortion clinics, two FBI agents follow what they think is a dead-end lead into the Carolina Mountains. A chance encounter with Ace on the trail, however, makes it abundantly clear that they’re both only a hike away from the biggest bust of their careers.
But when the feds trip Ace’s defense perimeter the ensuing C4 explosion tears open an underground cave in one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, and unleashes something only you the reader could have expected. As Ace, the feds, and the ProVentures group all collide beneath a stormy and winged sky there’s only one thing that’s certain: in the great outdoors it’s every man for himself.
Although the final chapters are a bit rushed, They Hunger is a masterfully narrated story. Nicholson’s greatest strength is his candid, unfiltered look into the psyche of his own creations: Each chapter POV reflects the fullness of personality and provides a refreshing perspective in the same vein as a Bret Easton Ellis novel.
All in all Scott Nicholson sets up a cast of characters that are not only distinct and nuanced, but also charged with enough ego and motive to set the Appalachian wilderness ablaze… even without the intervention of vampires. Don’t expect a traditional ending in They Hunger, but be prepared for one wild ride.
Mania Grade: A+
Author: Scott Nicholson
Publisher: Pinnacle Books