Friday, February 20, 2015

Tuskers review

    The aporkaclaypse is a trifle hammy but those who want to pig out on horror could do worse than this slaughterfest which brings home the bacon. It's Hameggdon-time in a small Arizona town which learns quickly its hogs are no boar but ready to gorge themselves on the inhabitants. More finicky readers of frights may feel giving this book a high rating is putting pearls before swine but this book is not swill for the trough either. So polk your head on down to the pen and pick up Tuskers, a novel of butchery which will leave you wishing someone would turn these mutant suidae into sausage.


    Okay, I'm out of puns.

    Tuskers is a black humor horror novel which parodies the recent glut of zombie apocalypse novels by switching the monster to porcine predators. The thing is, the concept is played perfectly straight from start to finish. There's not much difference, really between Tuskers and Deep Blue Sea other than the fact the setting is switched from a oil rig and the monsters from sharks. The fact the concept is played straight and a group of mad super-intelligent boars are played with as much seriousness as possible is what gives the book the majority of its humor.

    As implied above, the premise is a group of genetically enhanced super-intelligent boars and their offspring have taken over the region's local wild pig population and turned them into weapons against an isolated Arizona town. The book doesn't stretch realism as much as it could since it's made clear as soon as the authorities show up, this problem is going to go away in a hail of bullets. However, for the locals it is a serious issue as the mostly isolated farms and houses are vulnerable to the razorback menace.

    Like most good survival horror novels, Tuskers is about the human characters rather than the monsters. Each of them has a believable incredulous reaction to the situation before taking basic sane and intelligent steps to protect themselves. Casualties are fairly low in this book, at least amongst named characters, but enough you never know when something unexpected is going to happen. In short, the book is smart enough to try not to stretch my suspension of disbelief farther than I'm already according it about reading a book related to evil pigs.

    The supporting cast is all well-developed with varying degrees of sympathy but no obvious villains. There's no resorting to stereotypes with the rough and tumble tough-as-nails Sheriff being a woman who might as well be played by Betty White. We also some sly commentary on Mexican-American and Anglo relationships with a real-estate deal gone bad that goes completely out the window once the hooved menace begins stalking the townsfolk. The Tuskers, themselves, get minimum characterization but more than you'd expect. They even get names, applied to them by the frightened townsfolk.

    In conclusion, Tuskers is a story which works exceptionally well as a Roger Corman B-movie style treat. The appeal of those movies is the absolute seriousness they took themselves and this book has that in spades. The fact the writing is a good deal higher than the unintentional hilarity of those films helps matters tremendously. I'm not sure there's much more to do with the concept as the promise of Tuskers II and Tuskers III implies but I never thought they'd make classic horror films from killer tomatoes or venus fly-traps either.



  1. Hopefully this isn't boarish of me to say, but it sounds like this McGeary has some real sty-le.

    1. It's a book which will leave readers squealing for more.