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  • F. D. Gross

My Review of "Broken Shells" by Michael Patrick Hicks

In between my passing times and breaks of working on Inquisition, I recently read and reviewed a new book by Michael Patrick Hicks called "Broken Shells." I must say it falls directly into the category of contemporary horror and was damn pleased with its results. Check out my review below. Is this something you would read? Let me know...

A contemporary classic horror tale underground.

When Antoine is faced with the reality of spiraling his family into further poverty, a sweepstake in the mail—a blessing or a curse?—seems to be his only option (and escape) from his current state of hell, that of his un-appreciating wife and son, and his deplorable racist employer.

In Michael Patrick Hicks, Broken Shells, you are taken on a horrific journey most visceral and vile a story can get. Nothing stands out more than the shredding of skin and the nerve-racking echoes of the dark underground.

Hicks delivers hair raising scenarios and unsurmountable devastation to his pawns, set in a rural countryside where no one goes and no one cares. The perfect place for misfortune to occur.

Moving forward, the story’s premise is simply this: survival. Live or die. As a reader, it leaves you wondering what happens next, and not turning the page will “itch” your mind until you do. So as to not give anything away, for movie goers, the story shows reminiscing qualities of Starship Troopers and Aliens. Such imagery will splash across the back of your mind as The detail Hicks pours into his scenes of graphic horror is superb and was delightful with every inch given. His words come to life showing exactly what Antoine goes through.

A bit of constructive criticism, there are times throughout the story I wasn’t convinced Antoine’s family gave him enough positive energy to provide him with the drive needed to survive the underground horror. However, this was strictly due to the excellent character building introduced at the beginning of the story. Hicks provided strong traits about Antoine’s negative family at the start and that Antoine very much didn’t like them. He wanted to get out.

He needed to get out. There were hints later on in the story that Antoine had premonitions of leaving his family—abandoning them completely—prior to the call of the sweepstake flyer. Later on as the story progresses, after re-evaluating his life, those negative traits vanish as if never existing. If his family was the strength he needed to get through his dilemma, then the negative qualities of his family should never have been visited. Hicks did a fantastic job of making me hate his family.

But, despite the slight inconsistency, the story overall was SOLID. The POV exchange between the two main characters transitioned exceptionally well and really put the polish on a well crafted product. 4 out of 5 stars.

~ F. D. Gross

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