01 October 2020

Review || Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space by C.D. Gallant-King



Newfoundland, Canada, 1992.

Gale Harbour hasn’t seen any excitement since the military abandoned the base there thirty years ago, unless you count the Tuesday night 2-for-1 video rentals at Jerry's Video Shack. So when a dead body turns up floating in the town water supply, all evidence seems to point to a boring accident.


Niall, Pius and Harper are dealing with pre-teen awkwardness in the last days of summer before the start of high school. The same night the body is found, the three of them witness unusual lights in the sky over the bay.


Is it a coincidence? Are the lights connected to the rapidly-increasing string of mysterious deaths? And what does the creepy old lady at the nursing home have to do with it?


There is an evil older than time hidden deep beneath the waters of the North Atlantic. It is hungry, and vengeful, and it has its sights set on Gale Harbour to begin its path of destruction. All that stands in its way are a group of kids who would rather be playing Street Fighter II...



   
   



Horror comedy is one of my favorite genres so any story named Psycho Hose Beast from Outer Space has to be a hidden gem, right? The name itself doesn't necessarily scream horror but more of a Up All Night B-movie fest or even a cheesy sci-fi being MST3K'd. And let's take a moment to talk about that cover, shall we? The man in the lake might be taking a late evening dunk on his way home from too many at the pub. I'm sure he's totally fine! Maybe hate-himself-tomorrow drunk but certainly not dead. Even the font with its letters all willy-nilly surely lends credence to this being more of a comedy of errors. Something so absurd as a psycho hose beast couldn't be horror.  Well, yes but...not quite. 

Pre-teens Niall and best friend Pius are ready to spend another uneventful summer week together doing all the things that kids do. The last week of the summer they are joined by cousin Harper, whom Niall has a big crush on. Of course, this is a never-ending font of inventive teasing from Pius. The weird weather coming in means that Harper's dad, a local Fisheries and Wildlife Officer, needs to be out in it, Harper gets to spend time with the boys. Only this is the summer a big, bad supernatural entity has finally cast aside its imprisonment from the fathomless depths of the sea.  

These pre-teens are something of a delight. They are well-written with all the melodrama and internal strife that pre-teens have. They actually remind me a lot of the Losers Club from Stephen King's IT. Nerdy, quirky, a little bit out in left field but quick to believe in something otherworldly that the adults would struggle to understand. Even while under threat, they are resilient and continue to hurl quips, calling each other out in a way that only kids can do. All the side characters are great as well from weird kid Skidmark to the neighborhood bully, Keith. Typically, in horror the adults are there but barely involved. Not so here. Parents are not only present, but involved, which is refreshing to see. 

To make things even better, this is a fun, nostalgic trip into the 90s. Everything from music to video games, popular movies, and cartoon strip characters breathes life into this setting. Even the names that the friends call each other are reminiscent of the popular slang of the era. If your own childhood was lived somewhere in the 90s, you'll find memories of your own quickly recalled. 

While there were some of the typical horror tropes (abandoned military base, kids save the world, ancient evil), there's nothing repetitive about the execution of the story. The author has a great storytelling voice throughout. The relationship between the kids and the well-timed humor made this a quick, entertaining read. This is one book that gets you interested and invested in the characters long before anything in the plot goes sideways and oh, boy does it! 



C.D. Gallant-King writes comic horror and fantasy stories in a variety of settings and genres. He is a proud Newfoundlander and Canadian currently living in Ottawa, Ontario. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. He lived in Toronto for 10 years and tried to be an actor and a rock star, but we don't talk about that. He is now a happy husband and father of two. 


C.D. has previously published two novels, and a third book, PSYCHO HOSE BEAST FROM OUTER SPACE, is set to be released September 28. His book HELL COMES TO HOGTOWN was a semi-finalist in Mark Lawrence’s 2018 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. His work has also appeared four times in Mystery & Horror's STRANGELY FUNNY anthologies of comic horror stories, an upcoming issue of The Weird and Whatnot magazine, and in two anthologies from Dancing Lemur Press. 


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