Originally published at Fangoria.com on Sept.5, 2010
SLAVIS, an e-book by author and screenwriter Garry Charles (pictured) that hits the web next week, is an enigmatic mystery involving clashing personalities and horrific supernatural beings. It involves a group of strangers who inadvertently find themselves confronting the end of the world, contending with an army of flesheating monsters.
Burnt-out detective Kyle Harrison has miserably alienated everyone around him, while being harshly cynical toward himself. His ex-wife was viciously murdered, along with her children and new husband, and he can’t stop agonizing over her brutal murder, even though it’s not his case. This doesn’t have to be his problem, but when he discovers her name mentioned in a paranoid madman’s notebook, he is compelled to solve the puzzle.
Following loose leads, Harrison hastily turns to a pair of animal experts, Megan Grant and Peter Booth. Though he needs their assistance, Harrison still considers them superfluous to his pursuit. The three have no idea what kind of danger lurks in the darkness, and they are drawn ever closer to a deadly threat—but Harrison continues to blindly follow his thirst for revenge.
So much attention is paid to Harrison that the secondary characters do not feel well-defined. They come to seem unnecessary, even uninteresting. Harrison also ends up reuniting with his mistress, Kaci Keyser, but that relationship is never fully explored, leaving one to question how her character is supposed to advance the plot. Fortunately, things improve when the focus falls on the antagonistic conflicts between Harrison and Booth. The latter is protective of Megan, but feels mocked and outsmarted by Harrison. The rivalry between the two antiheroes is very amusing, as they both compete to be the bigger jerk.
The action escalates as the group attempts to understand what their enemy hungers for. The Slavis are a lethal breed of immortals with a devilish appetite, digesting their victims and use their flesh as suits to walk the Earth. What they haven’t ingested becomes reanimated, resulting in some horribly disfigured beings. Their host will absolutely stop at nothing until the ultimate sacrifice is completed. Charles doesn’t hold back on the violence and terror of the creature attacks, and he’s able to keep the frights coming till the climatic plot twist. Chapters 18-19 pulse with tension as the group encounters the beasts at a crime scene, and bloody carnage ensues as Booth witnesses the gruesome slaughter of an entire police force.
SLAVIS is a monsterfest mixed with a police procedural, and Charles crafts an enjoyable thrill ride into the supernatural. It will be downloadable beginning September 10 at his official website, where you can find other updates and info on his work.