This past weekend I sent my latest short story off for submission, so I felt it was time to take a day or two off from writing! As I’m often wont to do in such times, I turned to the book shelf and picked up something to read. After all, what better way to develop your craft than to see how other authors do it? This week, the book that grabbed my attention was “Depraved” by Bryan Smith.
Until now, I was completely unfamiliar with Mr. Smith, but that’s due to ignorance on my part. I just haven’t happened upon any of his works yet. A quick googling lands us on The Blog That Dripped Blood, the online home of Bryan Smith. He’s published http://www.dorchesterpub.com/store/category.aspx?CategoryID=6” target=”_blank”>seven books through Dorchester Publishing so he’s actually a well established and highly regarded member of the horror genre! If the book I happened upon, “Depraved”, isn’t quite your bag, he has plenty of other offerings for you to check out. If it’s a sign of what is to be found in the rest of his catalog however, Bryan Smith is a writer to take note of!
On to “Depraved”; why should you read it? Well, the essentials are a quick moving plot filled with some good back woods action, tied around a deep storyline that changes up the ‘backwoods mutant’ motif a bit. Even better, the plot is straight forward and doesn’t meander which leads to “Depraved” feeling much like a movie. We’re given the story in several points of view from different characters, all of them staying on task to give us a narrowing view of the full scope of Hopkins Bend. He doesn’t stray into long winded stoicism or internal monologues. From the very beginning every chapter is another case of survive or die. Thankfully all of the characters opt for the “survive” idea making the entire book an exciting read.
While I haven’t finished the entire book yet, I feel safe in bringing it to your attention. Like I said, it’s a fast read. The violence and brutality are a nice touch here. Atrocities occur to our main characters and the acts are not at all pleasant. Smith paints the scenes in wincing detail that will make you share in some of the pain. He manages to pull his punches just before crossing into full on splatter punk territory. This way, you get a lot of the pain and suffering without the vomit inducing visuals! All in all, this and the books quick moving plot make for a nice read.
If you’re completely new to Bryan Smith as I was, “Depraved” is a great entry point. I’m already mapping out the course I’m going to take through his bibliography. If you’re a veteran of Smith’s tales, I’d love some recommendations!