When UNIT 731 was first announced, I was excited to read it. In WWII, Unit 731 was a Japanese atrocity, a secret group that conducted a number of brutal and lethal experiments on human subjects. The real-life horror surrounding this group would have been perfect fodder for a horror novel. So, I have to admit I was initially disappointed when I started reading this book, as I discovered that Craig Saunders' latest really has nothing at all to do with Unit 731.
Thankfully, that disappointment was pretty short-lived, as Saunders delivers a dark,crackling novella filled to the brim with psychopathy, murder, and a rather extended sequence of torture. What this story is really about is family, and the way men can fail one another or try to save each other in a way that only family can. Still, it's definitely a horror story through and through, and the squeamish may find themselves a bit upset with the imagery presented.
Even if it wasn't what I had initially wanted, Saunders still hooked me with his story and his characters here. To me, that's a mark of a pretty solid work.
[Note: I received a complimentary copy of this novel as a member of the DarkFuse Book Club/Reviewer community.]