Thursday 9 April 2015

REVIEW: Scott M. Baker - Yeitso

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Blood Bound Books
Publication Date: 22nd Aug 2014
Pages: 282


Scott M. Baker is one of those authors I have seen a lot of but never read any of his stuff. It was the cover initially that drew me to this one and after reading the blurb, I requested it and got it. I’m bloody glad I did!

Los Alamos has a new Chief of Police. His name is Russell Andrews. He has recently moved here from New York with his daughter, Kiera, to get away from a nasty city and a nasty divorce. Little did he know the nasty little surprise that was coming his way instead of the quiet life he wanted.

One boy is dead and a girl is missing. It looks like they already have a suspect until it emerges that the boy was burned by an organic liquid sprayed over his body. This liquid could only have come from one thing. An insect. Problem is, the amount of liquid suggests this insect is absolutely huge. Where is it hiding? Is it alone? Russell has a race against time to find out.

If you are around the same age as me then you would have sat as a child in the 70’s possibly watching creature features on a Saturday afternoon. You know the ones? Rubber monsters, screaming women running for their lives and a Sherriff trying to solve something he knows nothing about? Brilliant weren’t they? Although there is a line in Yeitso that states “this isn’t a film from the 1950’s”, that’s exactly what it is, and it’s rather well executed.

Characters wise in this romp, you have them all. The police Chief Russell is a decent fella. He has all the good intentions needed for his role and an attitude to match. His daughter is the 17 year old kid taken from familiar surroundings and forced to set up a new home and new friends. Although not happy about this she adapts well. Bring into her life Josh who takes her under his wings to show her the ropes and much more. The Chief has Molly, his sergeant. She soon becomes more than just his sergeant. Add into the story a mixture of smaller characters like the disgruntled town drunk whose boy dies, the slightly racist policeman and a Native American police Chief. You also get the local mayor and governor demanding things get resolved quickly to save the economic welfare of the region and the scientist who pulls out all the answers when they are needed.

Plot wise it’s all been done before. If you have watched the films I mentioned earlier you will know very well that it can be done badly. It can be a story that just drags along with nothing to keep your interest going so you switch off. Yeitso is much more than just a creature story. You get an in depth look at the characters and their lives both past and present. You can’t help but like them from the very beginning.

On the horror side, I would have liked a lot more. When we come to these scenes they are extremely well written. Mr Baker has a definite talent for building tension and giving you the creep’s big style when something bad is going to happen. You know when bad stuff is coming but can’t help but be scared because he makes you scared. It’s just a pity there wasn’t a lot lot more in this book. The closing scenes as its builds to the climax are fantastic. Horror and gore and tension and raised pulses and cheers for the heroes and boos for the monsters. If this story had have been like that the whole way through this would have been one of the easiest top marks I’ve given for a book in years.

To summarise: yeah, very enjoyable read. Great characters. A very easy to read story that flows extremely well across the page. Perfect pacing and great at giving you a visual impression of the scenes in your head. The horror in this book was very very effective. There just wasn’t enough of it for me. This will in no way stop me picking up something else by Mr Baker. He writes good stuff that I would slot into my “to be read” pile when I want something I know will flow well and be fun.

So close to full marks but the need for more horror brings it down a tad.

General rating:

★★★★ Close to perfect.

Horror rating:

★★★ Creepy but not enough jump out of my seats moments.

You can buy Yeitso here:

Book Synopsis:

Veteran detective Russell Andrews has seen the dangers of big-city life: rape, murder, gangs. It's not a place he wants to raise a teenage daughter on his own. After his divorce, he moves with her to serve as the sheriff of a sleepy New Mexican town. But the desert has dangers of its own-deadly secrets that eat men alive. Secrets growing in power. Andrews comes face-to-face with a thing out of myth, a force without a name in the modern world. The Navajo, though, call it Yeitso.

Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives in Gainesville, Florida as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written Yeitso, his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid; The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C., Rotter World, a post-apocalypse zombie saga; as well as Nazi Ghouls from Space (the title says it all). Scott is currently working on his zombie apocalypse trilogy and a series of young adult post-apocalyptic novels.

Scott has also authored several short stories, including “Cruise of the Living Dead” (a zombie outbreak aboard a cruise ship), “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), “Last Flight of the Bismarck” (steampunk zombies), “The Hunger” (cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse), “Lebenden Toten at the Gate” (Nazis versus zombies in Stalingrad), “From Space It Came” (a giant spider from space), and the novella Dead Water.

When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers and one cat that kindly allow him to live with them.

You can see more of Scott at his website.

Scott’s author page can be found here.

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