Book Title: Borne of the Deep – The Salem Hawley Series, Book Two
Author: Michael Patrick Hicks
Publication Date: March 15, 2020
Available on: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Stars
Salem Hawley is recovering from wounds he gained during the finale of the first novella in the series “The Resurrectionists”. Sent on a mission by Dr. Richard Bayley, he travels by stagecoach with Bayley’s apprentice, Dr. Wright Post.
Haunted by visions of a massive black pyramid, Hawley is trying to find the ancient tome, Al Azif. This book is now believed to be in possession of occultists in Arkham, Massachusetts. Considering that it caused the release of the large, deadly crustacean in the previous novella, this book must be recovered at all costs!
However, not all is what it seems, and Hawley must ally himself with a stranger who seems to know more than she lets on. Together, they must find the book, uncover a conspiracy in Arkham, and prevent a new creature from rising from the deep!
It takes the first half of the novella to set up the rest of the story here. These parts where Hawley is traveling by stagecoach are a little slower in pace but no less important, as it builds a sense of dread and suspense. It also puts the pieces in place that will be explained later.
It’s about at the midway point where the author unleashes all that he’s been building up to and kicks the story into high gear. It shares horrifying realizations and surprising revelations to everything that has been happening to date. Once unleashed, the author goes full throttle, exploding into a cascade of gore, frantic fighting, and desperation to survive the onslaught of hideous creatures overrunning the town.
These creatures are vile and disgusting, sickening me to my core. The author has a knack in fully immersing me in his stories, engaging all my five senses with his descriptions of the merciless carnage. Many scenes many had me screw my face up in revulsion at the images and smells his prose brought up in my head.
It all leads to a breathtaking finale in a roller-coaster ride that pulled me along at high speed, demonstrating these creatures at the height of their violent, full power. As a humungous, unholy creature is summoned from the depths, the fury of a god fully unbridled visits hell on earth upon the residents of Arkham.
Since the time period is 1788 and Hawley is a Revolutionary War veteran who is also a Negro, he faces a lot of prejudice from the general population. Thankfully, he has the necessary skills to handle himself in a fight though. He’ll need those skills to face off against these strange creatures in the coming battle.
I liked that his history was fleshed out more, especially with his mother. With her background, it informs more about his belief system and his ability to handle the supernatural better. This kind of characterization about him and his mother makes for richer reading and makes for a far more interesting story.
I also liked the addition of Louise LeMarché to the narrative. She is a much-needed ally in Hawley’s quest who brings with her the knowledge he needs to stay alive. Her dramatic introduction into the story as well as her adeptness with magic is important to help him figure out how to defeat these hidden enemies.
From building tension to wreaking havoc, no one writes more brutal scenes like these than the author. Having read many of his stories previously, he has another remarkable novella here. Based on the clues shared here and in the previous book, I look forward to reading how he wraps it all up in the finale of this trilogy.
Please, just don’t impregnate me with eggs that make me want to throw up as I read about how they were implanted and what they will do to me once they’re born. Ewww.
Please note I received an advance copy of this ebook through NetGalley.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories written by Michael Patrick Hicks include “The Resurrectionists – The Salem Hawley Series, Book One“, “Clones: The Anthology,” “Chronicle Worlds: No Way Home,” Chronicle Worlds: Crime & Punishment,” & “Broken Shells: A Subterranean Horror Novella.“