As I mentioned in a previous post, I often do some reading in the target genre prior to and during working on a book.  Now, I don’t really read a lot in the horror genre, with the exception of some Lovecraft, and Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, while involving monsters, aren’t really horror per se (though they are similar enough to what I write; there probably wouldn’t be a Jed Horn series without MHI).

But in the workup for Older and Fouler Things, I finally picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, Residue, by Steve Diamond.

Short version: it is phenomenal.

It opens with a bang.  Monsters, bloodshed, and a strangely competent young woman named Alex.  Something has apparently gotten loose from a top-secret facility of some kind, and it’s left a lot of bodies behind.  And Alex is trying to clean up the mess.

We shortly move to the perspective of Jack Bishop, seemingly an ordinary high-school kid, who is told early the next morning that his father, who worked at the top-secret facility, has gone missing.  And in the course of trying to find out what happened to his dad, Jack inadvertently discovers that he’s got a strange ability of his own.  He can see the psychic residue left behind by events, particularly paranormal ones.

With Alex soon watching over him, possibly for nefarious reasons, Jack embarks on the search for his father, and gets embroiled in deeper schemes, targeted by what might or might not be pseudo-government conspiracies, and has to fight his way clear of probably the bloodiest Homecoming dance ever.

Atmosphere, action, character development, and just sheer, downright creepiness is everywhere in this novel.  Steve did a bang-up job.  In many ways, it has similar tone and themes to Stranger Things, except that Residue came out in 2015.

One of the many things I agree with Larry Correia on is that straight horror, where the protagonists are completely helpless (often due to the Power of Stupid), I generally don’t like.  It’s the great thing about MHI; “Evil Looms.  Cowboy Up.  Kill It.  Get Paid.”  I’ve gone a slightly different direction with the Jed Horn stories, but still, the protagonists aren’t shrinking violets.

Neither are Steve’s characters.  Jack is in over his head, but instead of curling upinto the fetal position and waiting for his inevitable doom (or worse, bickering and fighting with people who aren’t the monster, long enough that they all get eaten), he cowboys up as best he can, learns whatever he can to fight the monsters, and puts it into practice.

All in all, an excellent read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Steve Diamond’s “Residue”

Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Works by Peter include: The American Praetorians Series Task Force Desperate (October 2012) - ebook , paperback and audiobook Hunting in the Shadows (June 2013) - ebook and paperback Alone and Unafraid (August 2014) - ebook and paperback The Devil You Don't Know (June 2015) - ebook and paperback Lex Talionis (June 2017) - ebook and paperback The Jed Horn Series A Silver Cross and a Winchester (October 2013) - ebook and paperback Nightmares (January 2015)- ebook and paperback The Walker on the Hills (December 2015) - ebook and paperback Older and Fouler Things (September 2017) - ebook and paperback The Brannigan's Blackhearts Series/Universe Kill Yuan (Spring 2016) - ebook and paperback Fury in the Gulf (November 2017) - ebook and paperback Burmese Crossfire (January 2018) - ebook and paperback Enemy Unidentified (March 2018) - ebook and paperback Frozen Conflict (May 2018) - ebook and paperback High Desert Vengeance (August 2018) - ebook and paperback Doctors of Death (December 2018) - ebook and paperback The Unity Wars Series (P.L. Nealen) The Fall of Valdek (July 2018) - ebook and paperback The Defense of Provenia (August 2018) - ebook and paperback The Alliance Rises (September 2018) - ebook and paperback Short Stories Rock Meet Hard Place (Part I) - Baen Books Blog Non-Fiction Operation Redwings: The Rescue Story Behind Lone Survivor (December 2013) - ebook only The ISIS Solution: How Unconventional Thinking and Special Operations Can Eliminate Radical Islam (SOFREP) (November 2014) - ebook only

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