During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.
The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.
Like most readers, I have a favorite genre. For me, it’s horror and post-apocalypse. I read the occasional thriller every now and then (I even took a dare from our editor Jennifer to read a paranormal romance...and actually liked it) but for the most part, I stick to my safe and comfy little niche of vampires and monsters.
Within my little corner of horrors, I have a small club of authors who are my A-listers. They’re the upper echelon of “must read everything they write as soon as I can get my hands on it” talent I’ve placed above all others. Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Justin Cronin make up the entire membership list. Despite reading a wide range of authors—both self- and traditionally published—I haven’t really come across anyone who’s been able to make a serious run at joining my top tier. Until now.
A couple weeks ago, I randomly stumbled across The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone. The premise sounded interesting, the blurb was well written and it was available on NetGalley, so I decided to give it a try. Best. Decision. Ever. (Other than marrying my wife of course...love ya, honey). First and foremost, The Hatching is chock full of unique and interesting characters who come across like everyday people you either know personally or have encountered at some point. The author has given readers access to their personal thoughts and paired it with exceptionally snappy and engaging dialogue. The fact that many of them are dealing with everyday human flaws and personal issues makes them all the more relatable even as they attempt to manage multiple quickly escalating threats and unravel the mystery of the how and why behind them.
And speaking of world destruction, one particular factor that made this story so realistically frightening was how it unfolded simultaneously all around the world. Boone skillfully jumps from location to location, often while quickly introducing new characters—sometimes to play very temporary roles—and juggling those with the main group of characters and each of their storylines. In addition, there are multiple intersecting threads of history and relationships among the main characters that become increasingly intricate as the story progresses. It was as if the author challenged himself to the equivalent of juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle over a shark tank. The best part is that he pulled it off without even the slightest hitch—and believe me, it was nerve wracking and entertaining as hell.
Here’s the other thing I love so much about this book: it doesn’t approach the story with a simple premise of “people are afraid of spiders so let’s scare the shit out of them.” It actually addresses a bit of the history and psychology of why people across almost every culture have feared spiders. Despite the fact that it’s irrational for a full-size human to be afraid of even the largest of spiders, (you’re actually more likely to be killed by a cow) there’s just something about their freaky, alien look and their way of skittering around that seems to tap into a base-level instinct that harkens back to when we were all gathered around campfires at night watching out for predators. Now imagine being swarmed by millions of the vile little creatures and you begin to understand why this story has such a visceral power.
At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Given how impressed you were with this book, has Ezekiel Boone cracked your A-list group?”. The answer is...maybe. Obviously, Stephen King is the charter member and best of the best. Dean Koontz had to work his way up there over time. The newcomer, Justin Cronin gained membership almost immediately, but he’s just a freakish talent. The Hatching has put Ezekiel Boone on my radar for sure. Some of the final evaluation will depend on where he takes the sequel, Skitter. If he can continue the brilliance he's displayed so far, I have a sneaking suspicion a membership offer will be extended...and soon.
Check out our interview with Ezekiel Boone.
FREE Knockin' Books Awesomeness
Get all the good stuff right in your email inbox. CLICK HERE