Reminiscent of the pulp fiction stories of the ’30s through the ’50s, or perhaps the B-Movies popular at drive-ins in the ’70s and ’80s, Greg F. Gifune’s new novel, Savages, is every bit as good as the best of those sub-genres. Prior to the start of the book, the author quotes the 1920 film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”:
A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it…
The story which follows is about a group of friends and acquaintances, shipwrecked, adrift for days, and washed ashore on a seemingly uninhabited island…and that’s the good news.
Just days before they’d all been so happy and carefree, on vacation, so certain their lives were playing out just as they should, and that nothing could go wrong…and now this…
I really enjoy a good closed group story. People pitted against the elements…and each other. And in this case something even more unexpected and terrifying. The suspense in Savages is sky high and the tension builds slowly, giving Gifune time to develop his characters fully before they have to face the inevitable.
Savages is told with a bit of humor, and this works well to relieve the tension. A smart move because even with a few laughs along the way, as a reader I was left drained by the end of the story.
Savages will grab you, shake you, and leave you breathless. Recommended without reservation.
Also, kudos to artist Zach McCain, who perfectly captures the feel of the old pulp magazines with his cover for this book.
Savages is available in both paperback and e-book formats from Sinister Grin Press.