Title: Mass Hysteria | Author: Michael Patrick Hicks | Publisher: High Fever Books | Pub. Date: 2017-8-15 | Pages: 258 | ISBN13: 9781947570009 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.
It came from space…
Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.
Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.
As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.
…and it is spreading.
Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.
To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail.
Mass Hysteria Review
Michael Patrick Hicks’ Mass Hysteria is a headlong dive into a disgusting, gore-splattered future that will either delight or dismay readers. Though the book starts out with animal attacks, it transitions fairly swiftly to humans attacking other humans as well. The tone for carnage is set early on, and it ratchets up relentlessly. There’s enough ‘long pig’ feasting in this book to make the mythical rugaru feel right at home.
Mass Hysteria is heavy on language, violence, and sexual situations. It is not a book for horror fans that find their stomachs easily turned. There were scenes that made me cringe (and mentally applaud the author). If you are someone who hates to see a dog (or cat) die in a book, you’d best not go past the front cover. I’m normally one of those people, but given that the book promises animals going crazy, I was prepared for it going in. It’s a straightforward look at a world where the rules humanity have lived by since the dawn of civilization are cast aside. It’s fast paced, action-packed, and bloody. Really, almost everything a horror gore-hound could want.
While it is very competently written for the most part, Mass Hysteria does contain two instances of child death that annoyed me. These deaths are undeniably in place to add to the horror of the situation, and are entirely unnecessary. The author’s writing is strong enough to stand up on its own without relying on these tried and true but nevertheless weak writing props. (Normally I would list the animal deaths a weak prop as well, but it’s a game changer when you know it’s going to happen up front.) However, to his credit, only a few lines are spent on the first child’s death, and it is not witnessed as much as heard. For the second, it happens entirely ‘off screen’. So, they were well done for what they were. (And I have to admit that the second death really did emphasize exactly how much the world had changed.)
Undeniably talented, Michael Patrick Hicks shows evidence of a rather deliciously depraved mind in this book. This is an author that can easily hold his own against some of the biggest names in the business. There is some improvement to be had, but mainly in areas of confidence rather than technical skill. While he isn’t on my ‘must-read’ list yet, I would have no problems recommending Mass Hysteria to fellow gore-hounds out there.
I have also reviewed Black Site by the same author.