The Apocalypse Weird series continues with a contribution from Shadows Burned In author Chris Pourteau. This time the action takes place in Houston, Texas where a huge weather event brings the city to its knees, pummelled by several hurricanes simultaneously. Throw in a bunch of escaped prisoners enhanced by a backfired experimental drug, and a family falling apart at the seams and the stage is set for a nail-biting thriller of epic proportions.
Once again, Pourteau shows strong signs of an emerging talent as a master of tension, blending elements of science and horror perfectly, at a breakneck pace, building each set piece quickly but accurately and adding just enough well-crafted character development to make us care enough for the main protagonists, fearing for their well-being, and feeling all the more uneasy as the pscyhopathic Serenity Six draw closer, led by the chillingly dangerous Marsten.
Dr. Stavros, who was responsible for creating the Serenity drug and barely survives the escape of the prisoners is a wonderfully ambiguous character throughout, never fully revealing his intentions. We’re never sure if he wants to atone for his mistakes or simply observe the consequences unfold, but it’s clear he still plays an important part in the development of the story.
Oh, and demons, we’ve got demons. Anyone who has read any of the other books in the series knows about The 88 – a band of supernatural ne’er-do-wells gleefully intent on accelerating the oncoming apocalypse and Pourteau introduces his, named Id, who takes a shine to Marsten and the Serenity Six and aims to recruit them for her own ends.
It’s also an interesting and accurate portrayal of the dynamics of a crumbling family and examines ties that even after a break-up are almost impossible to sever. It also takes a hard look at the lengths a person will go to to protect their family in such extreme circumstances.
Having read most of the Apocalypse Weird novels that have been released at this point, I have to say that this was one of my favourites so far and I look forward to the continuation of this story arc.