By Laurie Stewart
This story is clearly part two of a trilogy, but that isn’t a bad thing. It simply makes far more sense if you’ve read The Symbiot. In that book, we were introduced to a group of people intent on breaking the reality barrier with an alien piece of music.
Picking up where The Symbiot left off, The Hunt finds our heroes spread across the globe, injured, and defeated in spirit. They share a nightmarish vision of a cold, empty place – a prophecy of the death of mankind – from which dead friends call out to them for help.
But they destroyed the entity Nyarlathotep and the gateway, didn’t they? They thought all the major players were dead, the music gone forever… but they were wrong. Evil doesn’t die, it just changes.
Michel Weatherall’s characters seem to take on far more life and realism in this book. While curiosity and fear seemed to be the predominant emotions in The Symbiot, The Hunt gives us a chance to see the softer side of these characters. Loss, love, hope and yes, fear give a far more rounded and more sympathetic cast.
Both Lorne and Marie Gibbons manage to reincarnate in modern-day Tokyo by taking over the bodies of dying citizens. They find each other and continue to live as a married couple. But that is not without its own bizarre twists. They believe that they reincarnated without the Nyarlathotep symbiot, but did they? And what of the lingering facets of their bodies’ previous owners still in their minds?
Changes to Marie’s physical condition seem to have a very real impact on the Earth itself. Strange phenomenon in the form of tidal swells and odd hollows in the ocean may threaten all coastal areas with destruction.
And behind the scenes CSIS and strange shadow organizations within the U.N. mobilize to destroy the threat they see in Marie, Lorne and his mother, Veronica. Others seem determined to play the alien melody again, the same melody that brought the immortal and deadly Nyarlathotep to Earth. They are convinced that they can remold the music, possibly the universe itself to their will.
Howard Neilson, working for – but in total disagreement with – the U.N. shadow council has his own nightmares to contend with. A fallen alien city, a planet-sized graveyard (that might just be Earth?) and through it all both monsters and tortured souls he recognizes cry out for him by name.
James Leaman, and Michelle Nesbitt, CSIS agents set to watching Veronica’s house in case Lorne shows up are hit by another mysterious Earth Phenomenon.
A flood swelling up the length of the St. Laurence River triggers evacuations and strange plagues of insects, and a mystery bigger than the origin of the Nyarlathotep-Symbiot itself. And into the middle of this Lorne, in his new Japanese persona, appears out of nowhere.
Action packed political and supernatural thrills are the backbone of this nod to Lovecraftian horror. Michel deftly weaves a fistful of threads into a tapestry of darkness with a few spots of glowing light. Love, fear and over all, the chilling presence of “the other” draw you in and possibly spark nightmares of your own. Nightmares of an undead city calling your name as a shapeless horror crawls up behind you.
Book three Pharoah will be reviewed soon.
Michel Weatherall’s The Hunt is available as an e-book on Amazon and is published by Broken Keys Publishing.
Laurie Stewart is a local author of gritty NA fiction and dark fantasy. Her debut novel A Test of Loyalty was nominated for the first Frank Hegyi emerging authors award in 2016. This book and its sequel Alone in the Night are available everywhere as ebooks and at Amazon in paperback.