Monday, November 24, 2014
Feral by Berton Roueché
(pb; 1974, 1983: novella)
From the back cover:
"Jack and Amy's fear was turning to primal terror. Like cornered prey, they cowered in their house, the dark woods howling with shrieks out of hell. From every side. . . came the eyes. Hundreds and hundreds of fixed, glaring eyes gone wild with ravenous hunger. . .
"Jack and Amy had loved the isolation of their cedar-shingled home by the ocean. Far from their city, they had found the peace and quiet of unspoiled nature. Not a neighbor in sight.
"Now they were watching the death throes of the policeman sent out to rescue them. Watching, transfixed by horror, as the writhing mass of shredded human flesh sank screaming into a snarling frenzy of dripping teeth and claws."
Bland and predictable 124-page entry in the nature-gone-wild horror genre. Feral isn't badly written, but there's nothing in this novella that you haven't read before in better versions of this storyline. The characters are cardboard, the author's slow-build-into-terror runs too long and lengthwise, this should have been a short story.
Near the end, there are a few suspenseful moments, which made Feral an almost-worthwhile fast-moving afternoon read (I read it in forty-five minutes), but not quite. Don't even borrow this from the library.