Paperback, 449 pgs, $6.99, 2007
Review by Steve Vernon
Something Bad begins to happen in a typical American small-town of Boyston, Illinois. The action starts up in the local general store as Gabe Peterson is meeting with his cronies – John Johnson, Billy Smythe and Press Cunningham. There’s a stranger in town. A dwarfish fellow named Thibideaux. They all sit and watch, like folks in any general store in any small town in any horror novel of this ilk.
“Something bad,” Gabe says unconsciously.
Something bad is going to happen for sure.
What Gabe doesn’t realize is that he has met this man Thibideaux before. He met him as a child and it wasn’t a pleasant encounter and for some reason, some very dark reason, Gabe cannot remember why. It seems this Thibideaux is a representative of a mysterious organization that seems somehow Bentley Littlish, as in Little’s masterpiece The Store. We aren’t quite certain just why this mysterious organization is so interested in this sleepy little Illinois town. Everyone has their own theory.
The only one who knows the truth of the matter is Thibideaux and he isn’t talking.
Gabe and his friends poke around, trying to get to the bottom of Thibideaux, only at first they do not meet with much success. And then people begin to die. An earthquake, a lightning strike, a pin-point accurate twister. It seems as if nature itself has turned against the town of Boyston. This book would have made a marvellous film full of wonderful CGI effects.
Something Bad is Richard Satterlie’s second novel. I enjoyed his style of characterisation although some of the character’s motivations seemed a little ambiguous. I’m not quite sure just why Gabe’s friends suddenly become interested in Thibideaux’s business. However, the protagonist Gabe is a complicated and intriguing fellow and one does find oneself drawn into the novel just to find out what Gabe really knows.
I found the eventual explanation of the Organization was handicapped by the over-use of far too many abbreviations. I kept getting confused as to what exactly a Triple O or a CSC were supposed to represent. However, Thibideaux is a nasty piece of work and I enjoyed reading about his downfall.
The book itself is fat and solid with a wonderfully large font that my 49 year old eyes appreciated. The cover is a little creepy and it has that distinctive Medallion Press look to it that (at least to my eyes) seems to make Medallion Press books shout themselves out on the bookshelves of your local bookstores.
For folks who are looking for a fine rambling read of old school horror, you’ll want to check out Something Bad.