After the great result’s from BlackWyrm’s previous book, Gran’s Secret, I couldn’t wait to dive into another book put out by them. The next on my shelf was The Hualapai Cycle by Jason Walters. This is a themed horror collection, focusing on horror stories taking place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. I looked forward to diving in.
The series of stories in The Hualapai Cycle, while they could stand alone, are very much interconnected and inter-related. The first few stories (featuring a man who breeds monster dogs, and hunt for a legendary mountain lion, and a self-conscious horse) featuring some reoccurring characters, as well as one common theme: these stories aren’t really that good. While the second story, “Phat Albert,” had occasional moments when it was good, they were drowned out. After the third story, I couldn’t continue.
Each tale tried to use graphic violence instead of horror, and failed. While violence can be used with, and in some cases is inextricable entwined with, horror, when it is presented in the wrong way it doesn’t do anything to the reader. To add on top of that the absurdity of the stories, which were bizarre in all the wrong ways, and the collection falls to pieces. While some very neat things could have been done with the setting and reoccurring characters, it just wasn’t well meshed into something that could be enjoyable. I have a feeling I will steer clear of Jason Walters’ work from here on out.