Thursday, November 11, 2010

Red Sky by Nate Southard

Nate Southard's first full length effort feels like the work of a veteran horror writer, beginning with a solid punch to the gut - leaving the reader with the taste of blood in his mouth. Southard's writing will hurt you on many levels, and after reading Red Sky, I'm convinced that this is his goal.

When a bank job goes horrifically wrong, career criminal Danny Black leads his crew from El Paso into the deserts of New Mexico in a desperate bid for escape. With a psychopath and a hostage keeping a gutshot redneck company in the back seat, Denny soon finds himself with no choice but to hole up in an abandoned factory, the former home of Red Sky Manufacturing.

Surrounded by nothing and no one, Danny thinks he may have finally found some breathing room, a chance to think and to plan. Danny and his crew aren't the only living things in Red Sky, though. Something waits in the abandoned factory's shadows, something horrible and violent. Something hungry.

And when the sun drops, it will feast.

20 pages into this novel is all you will need to become a hardcore fan of Southard's style. The story is completely engrossing, the writing is absolutely perfect in it's combination of terrifying description and black humor, and the overwhelming and consistant sense of dread sends chills up your spine, riviting your eyes to the page throughout the entire novel. I would be hard pressed to come up with a single thing wrong with this book, it's that goddamned good.

Southard's characters are instantly likeable at the same time as being completely despicable. His ability to craft dialogue is impeccable. The characters in Red Sky actually say very little, but what dialogue Southard has chosen to include is obviously the best of the best. Known to be someone who writes and rewrites until the piece is as perfect as it can be, it's not hard to say that Southard has obviously worked his ass off, presenting the reading public with an incredibly awesome first novel. If this is any indication of what we can expect in the future, I'm locked in for life.

Red Sky also features 4 short stories that are absolutely compelling - sometimes funny - butmostly horrific. Senorita is a short about how far a man will go for the love of a young girl, reaching heights of brutality not often seen written this well; First Day is an awesome look at an employee's first day at a very special workplace; Inside The Box is a painful look at human trafficking that has a wicked surprise twist at the end; and The House On Toledo Street is a good ole boys tale revolving around the classic haunted house dare. Southard's take on all four tales is unique, brutal, and unquestionably genius. A great addition to this amazing book.

Fast, gritty, gruesome, and as hard-fucking-core as possible, Red Sky is definitely a novel worth it's weight - and then some. You can grab a limited edition copy from Thunderstorm books (only 110 copies are being printed) here, but you're going to have to move fast. At only $60 a pop, they're selling out wicked quick.

For more information on upcoming stories and books - visit Southard's website, and make sure you follow him on Twitter and/or Facebook.

PBH.

2 comments:

  1. I've only read a couple of his short stories, but I quite enjoyed them. Hopefully, I will come across one of his novels or novellas some time. They sound great.

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  2. Great review. You've sold me. I'm gong to try to find a copy of this. Sadly I'm already pretty sure my bookstore won't have any copies -- if they carried him I think I would have run into him by now -- but I will find him somewhere.

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