Hands-down, Hunter Shea is one of the most consistently entertaining horror authors I've come across. I can always count on the man to deliver some truly fun, B-movie pulp in print form, and Jurassic, Florida is no exception. Dig it:
After an act of eco-terrorism against an off-shore oil rig large enough to rock the Richter scale, the residents of Polo Springs begin to notice a sudden increase in lizard activity. Sidewalks are cracking apart, giant holes are appearing in the ground, and iguanas are literally everywhere. If that weren't bad enough, Hurricane Ramona has its eyes set on Polo Springs, causing further calamity and unearthing even more iguanas. Big ones. Like, dinosaur big. Ancient, primitive, twenty-five foot tall iguanas. And those sumbitches are hungry!
Sounds like a good time, right? Well, it is. Like I said, Shea knows how to craft some wild creature features. Jurassic, Florida is a hell of a romp, too, filled with monsters, gore, and carnage, with the pace cranked up to rapid-fire. This one's a slim novella, and the story flies by at hurricane speed, driven by one event after another.
On the character front...well, this is the type of story you don't want to too attached to any one individual. Still, Shea makes a couple memorable figures here, such as Anna, the town's 18-year-old mayor. I wouldn't have minded a bit more backstory to her in regards to the particulars of her election, but screw it. You just gotta ride with it, and figure that if a real-life Alaskan town can have a cat mayor, then a fictional young adult like Anna at least stands half a chance of holding office, so why not? She gets some good moments to shine, as do Don and his family, and a sprightly, young lesbian couple. Don't expect everybody to make it through unscathed, though, and there were a few moments that manage to surprise me with just how blackhearted Shea can be. Good on him!
All in all, Jurassic, Florida is a heck of good time, and one that is reminiscent of natural horror flicks like Them!, and to a degree Godzilla, where giant animals turn the local human population into an all-you-can-eat buffet. By novella's end, I was hungry for more! Thankfully, Jurassic, Florida is the first in a trio of One Size Eats All novellas from Shea and Kensington/Lyrical Underground, so I'll be getting plenty more instances of crazy animals feasting on skewered humans. You really can't go wrong with that.
[Note: I received a copy of this title from the publisher, Kensington, via NetGalley.]
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