Brain Keene seems to be a gradually rising big name in horror fiction, with good words about his work appearing left and right, yet I had never read a single one of his works. I saw this one at the bookstore, and it looked like fun, especially with it being a Richard Laymon tribute of sorts, so I picked it up. I certainly am glad I did, and I know it won't be the last one by Keene that reaches my bookshelf.
Becka is a contestant on a Survivor-like reality TV show. She and the other castaways have been left on a tropical island, and it seems like everything that could go wrong does. Just as the book is beginning, we discover that the island is in the path of a massive storm, that there is something in the forest parts of the island that doesn't like having the people there, and that one of the castaways is a little more than he seems.
The storm works perfectly to cut off the castaways from help that would be provided by crew members on a boat off the island. Isolated, Becka and the others must fight off all of the trials the island holds and survive long enough for the storm to break and rescue to arrive. The novel is intense. Our characters get no time to breath between the multitude of assaults from all fronts, and the whole time a metagame is being played by the people who still feel that they need to play the game they were sent to the island for in the first place.
The book is very violent, and certainly not for the faint of heart, however none of the violence was particularly gratuitous, all of it adding to the level of intensity or furthering the plot. This book had a powerful hold over me, and I tore through it in a day. This book is highly recommended, as are the novels, in particular the Beast House series, by Richard Laymon that inspired this book.