About the book
Prey: A young, homeless man arrested for a gruesome crime; a respected politician bound for higher office; detective Shane Calvin finds himself caught in the middle as two seemingly disparate lives collide, the weight of their secrets threatening to destroy them all.
Anathema: Chemist Jerrod Dawkins has lost everything: his job, his reputation, and his family. After a failed suicide attempt, he learns that an envious co-worker masterminded his downfall, and he vows revenge. Jerrod manufactures a virus and turns it loose on his former friend, unleashing far more than he intended.
Prey and Anathema are two dark and disturbing novellas from the author of the Demon Squad series, Tim Marquitz, which explore the concepts of despair, revenge, and self-centered destruction. Don’t be surprised if you are shocked by the depravity of the human heart—as well as its resilience in the face of horror—after reading these novellas.
This book was provided for review by the author.
I’m not a big fan of horror novels. I’m never really scared, so I tend to leave the books wondering why I read them and why they are called horror. Maybe I’m missing the mark. Then, occasionally, I’ll come across a horror novel that is a real mind warp. That’s the kind that I enjoy, and it’s those books that make me keep me trying out the genre. Occasionally I’ll find a book that gets into my head and twists it a little and makes it all worthwhile.
The thing about Prey is that it’s one of those books that shows that Marquitz isn’t afraid of making the reader incredibly uncomfortable (which is a good thing, in my opinion). He’s graphic, and some of his scenes are disgusting. There’s really no other way to put it. They will make the reader uncomfortable. That’s not really bad, though. While some of it was a bit over the top, Marquitz did a good job at using his graphic and uncomfortable scenes to take the reader where he wanted them to go, and explore the things he wants them to explore.
Prey is fairly short, and so is the novella Anathema. However, both focus on the idea of revenge, and how revenge can push people to act in, well, horrific ways. One can’t help but ponder these ideas as they are almost assaulted with some of the scenes. Marquitz somehow manages to balance horror, graphic violence and deeper themes. He isn’t afraid to take readers to the dark corners of the human mind and show just how warped one-track thinking can make someone.
Marquitz really has no trouble with writing. He’s an incredibly atmospheric, descriptive author with characters that usually pack some punches. He also seems to have this innate ability to pick the perfect character to not only tell the story he is trying to tell, but also take the reader on his personal guided mental trip. While that might sound like something all authors are skilled at, some really struggle with characterization and Marquitz ability to pick the perfect character for his plot is a skill that really shouldn’t be overlooked.
Prey and Anathema are both books that are more psychological than anything else. In some ways they remind me of a short story I read in Long Eyes by Jeff Carlson. It was about a man who contracted HIV by sitting on an infected needle in a movie theater and.. well, you’ll have to read it to find out the rest. It’s stories like that that are both creepy and haunting, and absolutely disturbing. It’s also stories like that that will stick with the reader for a long time, which is a huge mark of success. This book by Marquitz is like the story I just mentioned. Some of the scenes are a bit over the top, and the hardboiled detective is somewhat stereotypical, but Prey does a fantastic job at exploring the dark corners of the human psyche, and it will stick with you.
This is a novella, and Marquitz packs two stories into 156 pages. This means that the plot really has to fly, and it tends to lose some of the side plots and background that many longer novels contain. Readers might miss that. Furthermore, I personally felt that both of these stories would have benefitted with a bit more length, exploration, background and general expansion of the plot. There is potential for these stories to be fascinating novels, and I found myself rather disappointed that they were stories instead.
If there is one warning I feel I should give readers, it’s that when I say there are some graphic scenes, I’m really not kidding. There is some potential here for readers to find some things offensive if they aren’t prepared to face some pretty out there stuff. I’m not sure how else to say that without giving anything away. Just be prepared.
Prey is an experience, and Marquitz was a brave man for writing this book. He does a wonderful job at exploring the darkness of humanity, and deeper themes like revenge. His characters might seem a bit two-dimensional at times, but the plot and scenes will carry readers through the two-dimensional bits. When it’s said and done, Marquitz is a very unique author, with a fantastic talent for writing which he’s chosen to use in this absolutely haunting book. If you are looking for something a bit dark and different, you hit the jackpot.