Sunday, November 2, 2014

Review of Adam Cesare's Tribesmen

I admit to Googling Adam Cesare just before he was a guest on our online writer’s chatroom. “American horror writer of novels, novellas, and short stories,” his Wikipedia entry reads, and lists ten books in the genre, all published within the last two years, with Other People’s Money. Wikipedia was unable to classify another work, Leprechaun in the Hood: The Musical: A Novel, which I found intriguing. So– the guy is young, prolific, and has a sense of humor.
He does. Adam was a very affable chatroom guest who fielded our questions with charm and offered door prizes just for attending. I won one–Tribesmen ((Deadite Press, 2014)–and received a print copy with a nice inscription within a few days. Despite the author’s charm, articulation, and wit, given the gratuitous bloodshed prevalent in so many contemporary horror novels, I still feared Tribesmen would be a gore fest that I would have difficulty finishing.
No need to worry. I read it at one sitting and found it delightful. Yes, it’s gross, but the gore makes sense in the believable world Adam has built. The plot involves a low-budget film crew on a tropical island that–well, it hardly matters. Because what a novel should do is pull you along, no matter what the plot is. There are marvelous turns of phrase and even poignant moments in this tale of sad spirits, cannibals, madness and survival. There will be images you cannot get out of your head, from the relentless attackers in the Prologue to the old woman’s backwards feet and the naked grinning man with the machete. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point-of-view and zips along. The language barrier among the international crew adds a refreshing layer of complication.
The novel also has this feature to recommend it–horror master John Skipp did not just provide a cover blurb–he edited the story.
Tribesmen adheres to the number one criteria I demand of a novel–it allowed me to stay in it. The voice is consistent and edges into literary territory. There are no author intrusions. And that is an amazing effort for a debut novel. Tribesmen is a fast, fun read.