By Brennan LaFaro
Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason, better known as the Sisters of Slaughter, worked real hard to make sure we wouldn’t be bored this month. October 1st saw the dynamic duo release two books. Isolation is a novella about a haunted mansion on a cursed island, and one of my next anticipated reads. Tapetum Lucidum, the other release, is 349 pages of unbridled mayhem.
Tapetum Lucidum takes place over the course of about three days, culminating on Halloween night. How appropriate! Some young adults plan to spend the night just outside of the town of Brush Mill. Their plans, which mainly revolve around adult beverages, go awry when they awaken an ancient evil. The rest of the novel details an increasingly escalating siege by creatures from Native American lore.
We meet a plethora of characters from all walks of life in Brush Mill, and although there are a few front runners, there is no clear main character. We get to know everyone a little bit, get to know some of their personal dramas, and get to see what specifics they encounter when the murderous green-eyed monsters begin to lay waste to their town. In case their moniker didn’t make it clear, the Sisters of Slaughter make it quickly and glaringly obvious that no characters are above a brisk and grisly demise.
In case you wondered where Garza and Lason came up with such an intriguing title as Tapetum Lucidum, they define it as the eye shine present in animals, typically with above average night vision, that you sometimes see reflected back at you at night. Besides being an awesome sounding title, it forecasts some of the best imagery in the story. Leading up to a lot of the most fast-paced and savage action sequences, characters witness what appear to be floating green lights. This generally inspires a little bit of awe, but also some confusion, as it’s too late in the year for fireflies, before our townspeople are inevitably set upon.
As we near the ending, we get a resolution that is equal parts manic and cinematic. The final action sequences are written in a way that allow the reader to vividly picture every little thing that is occurring, including some gruesome displays we might wish weren’t so vivid. At times, the action moves so rapidly that the resolution of the plot can be a bit hard to follow, and I found myself retreading through some passages to clear them up.
If you go into this book looking for a gore fest where bad stuff happens, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. The monsters and lore involved, which I’ve intentionally left vague, are sprinkled pretty sparingly through horror as a trope, at least in my experience. As a result, it winds up being a fresh and, dare I say, fun story about a small town banding together to fight monsters.