The Hatching: Fun, fast, arachno-thriller

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The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone horror book reviewsThe Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

I defy you to read Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching and not feel that persistent but subtle pull against your leg hairs, or periodically feel for that brushing sensation against the back of your neck. The Hatching is the first novel in a series about spiders killing everyone and taking over the world. They don’t take over the world a la evil scientist, but attempt to take the Earth for their own 8-legged arachno-purposes. You know, eating, killing, and making lots of baby spiders.

The Hatching is like a well-loved and frequently watched B-movie. You know the characters, and love the fact that you know their lines so well. The plot is pretty basic and familiar from a dozen other movies. But you can’t help yourself. Every time you come across it on TV, you know you’ll be there for the full 2 hours. The recipe is tried and true: one cup of alien invasion (feel free to substitute aliens of the extraterrestrial type with anything gross and monstery); add half a cup of well-known character types; a tablespoon of military action and apocalyptic doom; and sprinkle generously with science (real or artificial), gore, and R-rated sexual suggestions. And sure enough you’ve got yourself a fast, fun and engaging read.

FBI agent Mike Rich is just getting over a divorce and is constantly hammered by his ex-wife for never making it on time to their daughter’s soccer games. Manny and Melanie are also recently divorced. Manny is the White House Chief of Staff who attended college with current President Stephanie Pilgrim. They’re old friends, and when not doing political battle in the Oval Office, sneak away to grab thirty minutes in the sack. Melanie is a world-renowned arachnologist (spider expert) who also happens to be plying her trade at American University in Washington D.C.

Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

sequel

Melanie receives a package from Nazca, Peru. If you’re not familiar with Nazca, Google search for ‘Nazca Lines + Spider’ and you’ll see, carved into the desert, an enormous thousand-year-old drawing of a spider. Melanie’s package contains a 10,000-year-old egg sac. Can you guess what’s inside? Can you intuit whether or not this egg sac is viable and will eventually burst forth with hundreds of 10,000-year-old Peruvian spiders? I bet you can…

Circling around these core characters, we bounce to India, China, the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, and a town of doomsday preppers in California. Each location and set of minor characters adds a little color to the complexion of the story.

China drops a nuclear bomb at a mining site within its own borders and the world stares in shock and confusion. A billionaire on an adventure tour in Peru watches as a swarm of spiders devour his travelling party. A pair of seismologists investigates tremors in India. Shortly after, phone videos hit the news airways picturing a flood of spiders attacking and annihilating everything in their path.

You’ll notice strands of Independence Day, Jurassic Park, and World War Z. Yes, the plot elements are borrowed and extremely familiar. You’ll even recognize this moment of drama from Jaws:

“You’re saying these spiders are like little machines that can only do one thing. So please, just tell me, Melanie, what’s the one thing these spiders are designed to do?”

 

“Feed… They’re designed to feed.”

But Boone isn’t trying to recreate the summer thriller, he’s simply adding a little bit of new blood.

I’m a fan of horror and enjoy a good gross-out (you can confirm this on your own by cruising through my previous reviews). This book won’t frighten you, but it’ll sure give you the willies. Perhaps you’ll take a little extra care to check behind those couch pillows in the basement. Maybe you’ll want to give a glance to that shadowy garage corner before you pull out the trash bin.

A quick note on author Ezekiel Boone: The Hatching is Boone’s first novel, but not the first from this author, who also goes by the name Alexi Zentner, a very well-regarded Canadian author of literary fiction. I suspect this is a case of a ‘serious’ author who’s found a new playground in which to explore but doesn’t want to get his dress clothes dirty.

Publication date July 5, 2016. An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march. Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out. The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

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JASON GOLOMB, who joined us in September 2015, graduated with a degree in Communications from Boston University in 1992, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University in 2005. His passion for ice hockey led to jobs in minor league hockey in Baltimore and Fort Worth, before he returned to his home in the D.C. metro area where he worked for America Online. His next step was National Geographic, which led to an obsession with all things Inca, Aztec and Ancient Rome. But his first loves remain SciFi and Horror, balanced with a healthy dose of Historical Fiction.

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One comment

  1. This sounds like a fun summer read!

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