Friday, May 14, 2010

“Sparrow Rock”, (Leisure Fiction), by Nate Kenyon

“Sparrow Rock” isn't “The Reach”, and therein lies its brilliance. While the latter crackled with a slow building dread, sported deep characters and offered an almost spiritual resolution, the former pulses with a frantic energy that literally pushes, pulls, even drags the reader through the story at a break-neck pace. This novel, along with recent work featured in the collection “When the Night Comes Down” (Dark Arts), displays a versatility that will allow Kenyon to continue telling stories for a long, long time.

When Pete and his friends decide to hang out and smoke a few joints in a fallout shelter built by Sue Meyer's eccentric grandfather, they expected a lazy day of doing nothing in the company of friends. What they got was the unthinkable: a nuclear holocaust. Trapped miles underground, they're cut off from the world above, with no idea what has happened. Fortunately, they've got food and water and the shelter is powered by an emergency generator. They can survive for some time....


For something has found its way inside, something small, sly, intelligent...and it has a plan. Is it a predator, mutated by the nuclear storm outside, or worse...were they created long before for some horrible purpose? In either case, they soon discover that these things have invaded not only the shelter. Who can be trusted? Who's been infected? Who will survive to the end...who will want to?

“Sparrow Rock” joins “The Reach” and “Prime” as Kenyon's standout works, as well as gives ample evidence of his ability to change-up his game. Also impressive are the subtle, deft plot twists he manages to weave throughout such a fast-paced story. Block a day in your schedule for this. It'll demand a one-sitting read.

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