Book Title: Friday Night Massacre
Author: Michael Patrick Hicks
Publication Date: February 1, 2021
Available On: Amazon as an eBook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 4.75 out of 5 Stars
President Tyler Coleridge lost the election and he unequivocally knows his time in the White House is ending. However, now he has contracted COVID-19 and he is on his deathbed. On New Year’s Eve, his entire family surrounding him, the President’s wife Melanie leads them all in a mysterious ritual. The next day, the President calls for a press conference, his family in attendance. But when the meeting goes off the rails, the press corps is under assault and killed in gruesome ways!
Meanwhile, Secret Service agent Mike Hutchinson goes to work as a member of the President’s protective detail. Hating the President and his family with a passion, Mike nevertheless perseveres in his career having served two previous Presidents and this one for over the past sixteen years. His experience has served him well, but his skills are about to be tested like never before.
Now, Coleridge and his family have gained supernatural abilities and are wreaking havoc in the White House on a killing spree. But there is a plan at work here and its implementation means the entire planet might face drastic consequences. It’s a race against time to see as Mike and the Secret Service try to prevent the unthinkable from happening!
The plot moves at a swift pace and the action rivals that of the best action movies you’ve ever seen. Coleridge and his family scheme, cajole and when all else fails, decimate their way through the White House to enact their plan, one action scene after another. They don’t care whom they must kill to enact their master plan, whether they are allies or enemies.
Mike and his cohorts fight their way through Coleridge’s allies as lives hang in the balance. The action spills out over the grounds of the White House as the United States is thrown into chaos. As Coleridge’s allies, the white supremacist group 88 Blades, converge on the White House, the chaos heightens to the next level.
It’s pulse-pounding action as I hoped that Mike would win the day with each obstacle he and his Secret Service allies faced. As he attempts to get to Coleridge, one by one he has to dispatch members of Coleridge’s coterie and gets closer to his ultimate objective. There’s plenty of definitive action-movie moments as the battle rages across the White House. As the situation continues to intensify and grows ever direr, I wondered who would live and who would die.
It’s an absolute slaughter as people are disemboweled and destroyed in different and horrific ways. But this is a Michael Patrick Hicks novel and plenty of over-the-top horror and death are to be expected. This is a strong hallmark of his writing and part of his unique, signature style.
Having read other stories by him, I know that I will viscerally feel each death and twinge at every repugnant act the Coleridge family commits. The hideous ways people die are part of this macabre novel and the supernatural elements of this story elevate the action in frightening and unpredictable ways.
The action ramps up to ten and keeps the pedal to the metal all the way through. I haven’t finished a novel this quickly in a while! It doesn’t take long until the plot gets moving and accelerates into a roller-coaster fast pace from there. It’s like that right up through to the surprising and unexpected ending.
Mike and his fellow Secret Service agents are given characterization and depth. This is deftly embedded into the story without slowing it down. But it helped me understand their motivations as well as their relationships with one another. This makes you care for them and pump your fist in the air if they succeed with each difficult hurdle they face. It also made me sad if someone I was rooting for died in their quest to purge the White House of this evil presence.
There’s also plenty of exposition in the story about Coleridge, his wife, his family, and his adult children, who are also his advisors. Their actions over the course of the past four years and their current actions helped me understand what degenerates they were, their selfish natures, and their overall evil personalities.
The action set pieces are gratuitous and well-written but you might be wondering about the satirical aspects of this novel. Tyler Coleridge is a stand-in for former President Trump and skewers him in the most laughable and shocking of ways. While there is plenty of recapping of Coleridge’s/Trump’s background and actions over the past few years, it reads like so many of the headlines that have dominated the news. In that way, it provides important context to Coleridge’s term as President. These recaps were succinct and well-integrated into the story.
However, as someone who has kept an eye on the news, those recaps also were the moments that slowed the novel down a little for me and were less interesting because it felt like it was reliving the news. However, once the action became fast and furious, those moments became more minimal.
The story escalates to the next level when the author builds on those news events and amps up the satire. That’s where the brilliance of the author’s dark humor and imagination came into play. Without revealing anything, it’s where the originality of this story shines the most brightly.
It is also within these aspects of the novel where it is the cleverest. It crucially holds the answers to the biggest questions I had as I read it. Namely, how did this happen and what is the hidden agenda of Coleridge and his family. It sparks the entire plot of the novel and was both funny and disturbing at the same time.
In light of recent real-world events, this novel presents an excellent example of alternative history if Coleridge’s plan came to fruition and the fate of the United States went in a darker and far more different direction. Also, some of the things the author states in this novel are eerily prescient of what happened in the tumultuous months of January.
The satirical look at the past few years combined with the supernatural adventure made for a compelling read. As demonic forces bring the carnage and drape the walls of the White House red with blood, the heightened violence, interesting characters, and inventive action scenes effectively demonstrate that this is a well-rounded gorefest that you won’t be able to put down.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories written by Michael Patrick Hicks include “Mass Hysteria“, “The Resurrectionists – The Salem Hawley Series, Book One“, “Borne of the Deep – The Salem Hawley Series, Book Two“, “Clones: The Anthology,” “Chronicle Worlds: No Way Home,” Chronicle Worlds: Crime & Punishment,” & “Broken Shells: A Subterranean Horror Novella.”