One of the greatest things, at least for me, with getting a Kindle is discovering new authors. Sure, it is also a lot of fun to be able to instantly download the latest novel from the big time authors. There’s nothing better than being able to download the latest from a Stephen King or something like that while standing in my underwear or pajamas or something. However, the coolest thing is discovering the someone new. That’s how I found JA Konrath and Blake Crouch and Scott Nicholson. These were all people that I might have found in the local bookstore, but definitely found thanks to Amazon.com and their ability to recommend books to me and the great network of writers and writer resources that have cropped up thanks to indie publishers.
All of this is to say that one of my recent discoveries is a guy named Patrick Greene. Let me share, just quickly, how I met Patrick.
SalGad Publishing released my novel VICIOUS. Patrick volunteered his blog/website for an interview that would allow me to talk about writing, but also promote the new book. The interview was fun. Patrick and I connected on Facebook. Just a few weeks later, I asked if he would submit to an interview for my website. He did, and it was one of the best interviews I have done. He and I, as it turned out, shared similar backgrounds as far as influences to our writing. Sometimes you just sort of connect to someone and I could tell that Patrick and I would get along quite well if we ever had the chance to meet.
Anyway, I just had to download his novel PROGENY. I was never a big fan of the whole Bigfoot myth or anything, but the plot of the novel was just close enough to VICIOUS that I was interested.
The story features a writer (Owen) who has recently moved into a house out in the woods. The land was previously owned by a local Native American tribe, and they considered the land sacred because they believed a primal force of nature resided there. Owen is kind of the de facto caretaker of the land, and that means he has closed off the property to the local hunters.
This has not set well with people like Zane, and his buddies, who own and operate a local gun shop. Zane is one of those fanatical Republican types who believes that a hunter should be able to hunt anytime of the year, regardless of the seasons, and from anywhere (such as from a moving vehicle on the side of the road). He has violated numerous laws about hunting in the past, but intimidates his way through life, using his huge size and temper to get his way. No one and nothing is going to tell him he can or cannot hunt and he is determined to indoctrinate his son, Byron, into the world of guns and hunting. And he does not care in the least that his son has more interest in reading or playing games than hunting.
Zane has already decided that Owen is his mortal enemy. He has begged, attempted to bribe, and attempted to bully his way into hunting on the land that Owen now lives on. And he certainly doesn’t think too highly of any man who makes his living telling stories. For Zane, that is about as far from manly as one can get.
Already, as the story starts, this conflict has been set up. Even if you did not add the horror element that eventually infiltrates this story, you have the setting for a compelling conflict. And that’s the thing about Patrick’s writing. He makes all of his characters so real that you immediately sympathize with them. You are pulled into their story even before the creatures that lurk within the forest start to come forward.
Yes, this is a Bigfoot story. And, again, Patrick makes them real, three-dimensional characters. These are not beasts who want to stomp around and crush people. They are gentle creatures who want to be left alone, but will react when they are threatened. They are almost human, and when it eventually comes to showing compassion and mercy, perhaps more than human.
This story sneaks up on you. Before you realize it, you have been pulled completely and utterly into the tale of Owen versus Zane. At the same time, there are the sub-plots of Zane and his son Byron. In fact, Zane and Owen may have more in common than they dare realize. They are both struggling to connect to their sons. Zane is losing his son thanks to his overpowering and boorish ways and insistence on making him a “man” in his own image instead of letting Byron find his own way. Owen is struggling to stay connected to his son after his marriage has disintegrated and his relationship with his ex-wife has been stretched to the breaking point.
Then comes the day that Zane decides that he and his buddies from the gun store decide to sneak onto Owen’s property and go hunting. They soon discover that there is more than deer in the woods. And when a terrible tragedy occurs, it sets up a truly terrifying, edge-of-your-seat confrontation between Zane, Owen and the forces of nature known as Sasquatch that live in the woods.
So, what Patrick does is get you caring all about the characters he creates. He makes them live and breathe and he makes you care about them. Then, just as you are getting entirely wrapped up in their day-to-day conflicts and problems – BAM! The horror and terror starts. The story shifts into over-drive and the last third of the book races by as you click the “page” button again and again and again.
Patrick Greene has crafted a truly masterful story of suspense and fear. It manages to be complicated and rich in detail, character and story. It invests its world with realism, establishes its rules and characters, and then turns them on their head until you are left nearly breathless until the conclusion
Honestly, if I had one complaint, it would be that the story isn’t long enough! I wanted more of these characters. I wanted more of the story.
So, if you are a fan of horror and suspense and just plain ol’ good story-telling, then check out Patrick Greene’s PROGENY. Then, hope that Mr. Greene hurries up and writes his next novel.
I know I can’t wait!