Monday, 23 March 2020

HIGHWAY TWENTY by Michael J Moore

3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.

In a Nutshell: Contemporary creature horror, small-town America

I enjoyed reading this—I like books set in small-town America, and this had a rather B-movie, pulp fiction feel to it, suitable for the genre.

The townspeople of Sedrow Woolley, Washington State, are disappearing—then they come back and they're ... different.  The book starts off with a man abducting a small boy, and finding that he has bitten off more than he can chew; a most compelling, if shocking, beginning.  The main characters are a mechanic called Conor and a homeless man, Percly, who sleeps in a disused train, and the story alternates between their chapters, written in third person point of view.

The great strength of this story is the characterisation and dialogue, which was spot on and totally convincing, particularly the highly likeable Conor, his wild and boozy girlfriend, Shelby, and his colleague, John.  It's a very easy read, a page-turner, and flowed well; Mr Moore can certainly spin a yarn, and the suspense was delivered well, too, with the story unravelling at a good pace.

My only complaint is that it did feel a bit too pulp fiction at times; I could imagine it being a slim volume that one might pick up in a 'dime store' in 1950s Sedrow Woolley, with a picture of a cartoon damsel in distress running away from a monster, on the front—it does need a better proofreader/copy editor, as I found more errors than I would expect, with issues like backwards apostrophes at the beginning of words, and the odd wrongly assigned dependent clause.  But it's good, and basically well-written.  If you enjoy these sort of stories and aren't too picky about minor errors, I think you'll love it.

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