They Feed
Jason Parent
Sinister Grin Press
April 15, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Wow…This is some crazy, twisted stuff! Seriously, if you are easily frightened They Feed might send you right over the edge! This is my first exposure to Sinister Grin Press and I LIKE IT! Jason Parent has written a wild tale that keeps changing and changing until your mind is blown at the conclusion (or is it really a new beginning?). Powerful suspense, solid characters, and not just a one trick pony. Most really good horror offers more than just scares. Parent tucks in some social commentary, jabs of humor, and encouragement to think more, then take action. There is so much cool stuff packed into this book that it’s a challenge to stay spoiler-free on this review!

But, no good ever comes to those who ruin others’ reading experiences, so I’m going to keep it on the down-low. On the first page, we run smack into Tyler, a deeply troubled young man who spends a lot of his time hanging around Galveston State Park. That in itself isn’t so odd. Lots of young folks like to hang around in parks and get back to nature. Not just the kind you smoke either! Get out where the air is fresh, do a little fishing, pitch a tent, collect bug bites, and take a dump in the woods. Good times, right? There’s just one little ol’ problem, it’s also a good way to get dead. Especially if you make the mistake of being in Galveston State Park after dark. That’s when THEY come out to hunt.

Tyler isn’t at the park to enjoy nature. No, what he’s doing is skulking around the park carrying a gun while listening to voices in his head. No basket-weaving merit badge for this dude! Especially after he makes a major mistake with his rifle and ends up doing six years at Wichita State Penitentiary for it. That’s a horror story all by itself, but we catch up with Tyler after his release. Like many people who are incarcerated, not much correction happens during his stay. He spends all of his time thinking about what happened and makes a beeline for the park. Turns out that he has a female shadow hot on his heels and when he enters the park, she follows. Both are looking for answers, perhaps justice, if there’s any to be had.

Galveston State Park is a used up and not particularly lovely place. The nature trails are in disrepair and the campers are pretty much on their own. But the worst thing is the lake. Once a clear blue body of water full of fish and surrounded by greenery and tall trees, it has become an abomination. It stinks horrible and everything around it is dead. The tall trees are rotten and the water is so dark and sludgy, that it’s like trying to fish in a bucket of used motor oil. Not quite how it looks on the travel brochures! The only happy critters around the lake are bugs that hover in huge clouds over the surface.

None of that keeps people from coming to Galveston State Park, though and Parent puts together a great cast of different people. A pair of amorous lovers, some seriously grunge-ola frat dudes, a parole officer, a park ranger, and a couple teetering on the edge of divorce. The story lines blossom immediately and keep you reading until you’re galloping towards the finish the line. You’re with Tyler as he does his deadly deed, hiking along with angry Abigail and her hubby, riding with frustrated parole officer Charlie, and many more characters. All of them are at the park following their own agendas until they are rudely interrupted by the creatures with bottomless appetites. As the sun goes down, they’re forced to take shelter in a creepy shack with a blood stained floor.

Will the creatures feast or will the victims get lucky? Ha! A better question is will anyone survive to tell the tale? The odds are not in their favor on what must feel like the longest night of their lives. Action galore, cool monsters, perfect speed –They Feed by Jason Parent is a killer read. Five stars all the way on this one! I really enjoyed all the elements, especially the humor. Anyone who writes “This trail has more splits than a (bleeping) bowling alley!” is all aces with me. The cover is a perfect representation of the location that much of the action happens in and the orange washed negative image is very unsettling. I highly encourage you to check out this awesome book from Sinister Grin Press. Great stuff!

About Brian James Lewis

Brian James Lewis is a published poet and writer who enjoys reviewing speculative fiction and dark poetry. With all the great emerging writers, magazines, and presses, it is exciting to be part of this growing community! Word of mouth and keyboard is more important than it’s ever been, because readers want to know about books before they buy. It makes Brian feel great to see writers he’s reviewed become successful and their work go on to win awards! Whatever happens, he’s always glad to offer encouragement and increase visibility of writers who trust him with their work. You can catch up with Brian on Twitter @skullsnflames76 or on his WordPress blog

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