by Brian Keene
Review by Andrew Brooks
Leisure Books Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843960891
Date: 27 January 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Castaways, by Brian Keene, is the perfect novel for those tired of the backstabbing, petty, and emotionally insecure reality TV stars. His solution: dump them on an island in the path of a hurricane, add some monsters and enjoy. And enjoy you will! Brian Keene is one of the best in the horror business these days, and his latest doesn't disappoint.
Well-known for his zombie novels (which I highly recommend as well), Keene's story here is a fairly straightforward romp through reality TV Hell. The show is a Survivor type show wherein the contestants are eventually really only in it for their own survival.
Keene introduces us to those who will be eaten, the show's contestants, in a few brief scenes in the novel's beginning. Once we've established the stereotypes, and really that's all the characterization needed here, Keene lets loose. People start disappearing, the storm draws closer and the pages fly. For previous fans of Keene that's really all you need to know. The guy knows how to write horror. And this is a straightforward horror-fest, one that's definitely not for the weak of heart or stomach.
I've been a huge fan of Brian Keene's work since The Rising, and Castaways is just as good. You've got all the things here a horror fan craves: the violence, the mayhem, and the blood and guts. Keene is a writer of the Richard Laymon school. He sets up the scenario and then lets the monsters wreck and create bloody havoc in said scenario. Much like Laymon, Keene provides all kinds of thrills here. Hey, there are some human monsters in this one too. But Keene has his own voice, too, one just as good as the late great master, Richard Laymon. He even pays tribute to Laymon in the afterword, dedicating the book to Laymon.
I don't wish to give away much of what happens, there's plenty of surprises here, but any fan of Keene's should pick this up. Recommended.