Demon Frenzy by Harvey Click
First book in the Demon Frenzy series
The thing about Genre books is this, it’s very easy to write an average one. That is to say by their nature they often follow set simple patterns which are easy to detect and replicate. This is not to say they are simplistic or that there is no craft to them. Indeed the reverse is true, in order to write something which will hold the interest of its readers in a field crammed to the rafters, an author needs to craft his work carefully and with all his talent. That is if he hopes for his work to rise above the herd.
Harvey manages to accomplish this most difficult of tricks with an undeniable skill, while following a pattern well-trodden.
I normally avoid spoilers when it comes to plot but I will make a vague exception in this case because of the pattern it follows which is hard to talk about without doing so. Consider therefore this a mild warning.
We start with Amy, a woman of hidden skills, who returns home to the small town of her birth after her brother ceases to reply to her weekly phone calls. What she discovers on her arrival is that her home town had changed in the years she has been away, becoming a darker nastier place all round, and the returning girl is far from welcome.
The first third of the novel covers the first couple of days of her return and the growing sense of unease as Amy gets herself slowly in deeper and deeper to the mystery of her home town’s dark underside.
Then things get nasty in the second third when she is ‘rescued’ by a group of individuals planning to end the reign of terror being perpetrated on the town. Her rescuers are secretive and less than welcoming, even when Amy’s skills seem to grow. All of which leaves Amy between a rock and a hard place, the Bad want her dead, the good side which is at best shades of grey don’t all want her alive either, and she gets the blame when things start to go wrong.
Then everything goes wrong and all hell breaks loose in the final third. Amy’s skills come to the fore but will she prevail…
In many ways it’s a reworking of so many other novels in the genre.
The important thing in all this is however the writing. Harvey manages to pull it together and make a simple genre story and make it seem fresh and initiative all the same. The action moves quickly and is well paced. The characters have a believable quality for all the unreal stuff surrounding them. They are well drawn and have individual qualities, while the setup of the plot has its own interesting quirks which help to draw the reader in.