Review: Behemoth by HP Newquist

cover of Behemoth by HP NewquistBehemoth by HP Newquist
Bloodshot Books (October 2019)
362 pages; paperback $16.99; e-book $3.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

Nothing freaks me out but also intrigues me more than a cult. They are just so fascinating. What kind of cult? Is it murderous? Doomsday? Is it polygamist? How do they brainwash people? Or better yet, is it a religious cult with the most insane secret I’ve ever read? Well folks, buckle up because this one is a doozy.

The story starts off without a hitch when three teenage boys from Ashford, New York, end up in the middle of nowhere. They were goofing off, doing things they shouldn’t be doing when they ended up near the closest neighboring town of Morris. Trapped in the pitch-black darkness of the night, they get into a horrific car accident, hitting a cement obstruction. The small, mysterious town of Morris has a peculiar reputation: none of the townsfolk ever leave or go out at night. This cement barrier acted as a tool to keep the monsters at bay, but now that the barrier is broken, what happens next? You’ll have to read to find out.

As we read along, we meet journalist Robert Garrahan. Garrahan drives out to his cabin from the city but stops for gas in Morris, where he meets Abby. Abby’s father owns the gas station, and as she was helping him, they got to talking. She asked him about a song on the radio. They have a friendly conversation, and he drives off. When Garrahan returns to the gas station, Abby is nowhere to be found, and the gas station has changed ownership. This all happened so quickly, so Robert Garrahan is understandably suspicious. You see, there have been other disappearances that occurred under odd circumstances. Garrahan goes poking around and ends up in a dangerous predicament.

Charlie started to black out. As his eyes lids shut, he saw a tremendous hand, like a claw, reach into the car and grab his chest. It must be the paramedics, he thought dreamily. But where were the flashing lights? There were no ambulance lights. No sound. No sirens. He could feel his rescuers pulling him out of the car. He looked at them through blurring eyes that couldn’t focus. Their hands felt like talons. Their distorted faces looked like a horror movie monster peering in at him. This is going to be a fucked-up dream, Charlie told himself as he slid back towards sleep. He let out one last breath as the flesh was torn off his body.

The above quote is a clear indication of what’s to come. Behemoth is a thriller-style creature feature with a fun amount of gore. Newquist is a great writer, his words vividly stoking the imagination. The chapters are short, and if you are anything like me, short chapters are addictive. Although I could predict a fair amount of the story, I think the level of suspense is satisfying. But maybe the story is meant to be predictable? Perhaps Newquist meant for us to know early on of the things that go bump in the night.

As I understand it, HP Newquist is not new to the writing world, but Behemoth is his first horror fiction novel, and I enjoyed it! If this sounds like your bag, be sure to give it a whirl!

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