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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Prey and Anathema by Tim Marquitz (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Order the book HERE
Read FBC's Review of Armageddon Bound 
Read FBC's Review of Resurrection 
Read FBC’s Review of At The Gates 
Read FBC's Review of Echoes Of The Past 
Read FBC's Review of Skulls
Read FBC's Review of Sepulchral Earth: The Long Road
Read FBC's Review of Sepulchral Earth: Temple Of The Dead
Read FBC's Review of Fading Light
Read FBC's Interview with Tim Marquitz 

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Tim Marquitz is the author of the Demon Squad series, and the Sepulchral Earth serial stories. He is also an editor, a heavy metal aficionado, a Mixed Martial Arts fan, and is also a member of the Live Action Role Playing organization. When he’s not busy writing dark stories, which catch his imagination he also manages to go about his day job. Tim lives in El Paso, Texas with his wonderful family. 

 Prey: A young, homeless man arrested for a gruesome crime; a respected politician bound for higher office; detective Shane Calvin finds himself caught in the middle as two seemingly disparate lives collide, the weight of their secrets threatening to destroy them all.
 Anathema: Chemist Jerrod Dawkins has lost everything: his job, his reputation, and his family. After a failed suicide attempt, he learns that an envious co-worker masterminded his downfall, and he vows revenge. Jerrod manufactures a virus and turns it loose on his former friend, unleashing far more than he intended.

Prey and Anathema are two dark and disturbing novellas from the author of the Demon Squad series, Tim Marquitz, which explore the concepts of despair, revenge, and self-centered destruction. Don’t be surprised if you are shocked by the depravity of the human heart—as well as it’s resilience in the face of horror—after reading these novellas. 

FORMAT/INFO:  Prey-Anathema is 156 pages long divided into two novellas. Prey is further divided into twenty-eight chapters and Anathema into eight. Narration is in the first-person, exclusively Shane Calvin in Prey and in third person via Jerrod Dawkins for Anathema. They are both standalone stories.

September 27, 2012 marked the e-book and paperback publication of Prey-Anathema by Genius Book Publishing. Cover art is provided by M. Wayne Miller.

ANALYSIS: Tim Marquitz has been a Jack-of-all-trades in regards to his writing; previously he made his debut in urban fantasy then quietly slipped in a couple post-apocalyptic horror novellas and also dabbled with a dark YA book. After that he lent his devious mind to epic fantasy and finally even donned the editorial hat to give us a fantastic anthology about the rise of monsters and the decline of humanity from the Earth’s totem pole. This is another’s of Tim’s experiments wherein he is mixing horror & noir genres along with his own writing style to give us these two novellas Prey and Anathema.

Prey focuses on detective Shane Calvin and his most recent case, a case that will blow the lid off the mind of its denizens and then some. He and his partner were called to an abandoned place and its there that Tim lets loose his dark imagination and we get to witness one of the most disturbing scenes that I have ever read. Its gruesomeness can never be described aptly and so I would request readers to tighten their stomachs before reading it. The story then absolutely twists away from that very scene as each new chapter brings new revelations none however that take away any of the darkness from it though. The story further down makes the reader confused as to what has been truly happening and thus is very much in line with SE7EN for its psychological horror and The Treatment by Mo Hayder because of the similarity of the horrific content and prose.

The second novella Anathema deals with Jerrod Dawkins who has been divorced from his wife Elizabeth after a video has arisen of him getting blown by another woman. Not being able to defend his position leads him to being divorced from his wife, separated from his kids and removed from his job. Thus with no prospects of any future happiness he contemplates ending his life however he comes across a revelation that changes his thoughts about his infidelity. He learns that someone masterminded it and thus he sets upon a path to revenge and trying to regain his family.

Both these novels focus on the idea of revenge, that it can lead people to do things that they normally would never ever contemplate. It’s this emotion that powers certain individuals in both stories. They plan and execute certain things that lead to the devious and morbid events seen in the stories. Tim luridly showcases the extent to which revenge can shape a human mind and how the person descends into darkness to achieve their ends. Revenge is one of the basest emotions and one, which was vibrantly showcased in the classic The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Edmond Dantes was the original wronged man who moved heaven and hell to exact his revenge. These stories feature characters who have been similarly wronged and they take upon themselves the onus to do what they deem is right.

With both stories focusing on such characters, characterization becomes a vital point and Tim doesn't disappoint with it. In the first story, the author gives us a first person narrative that easily reveals the disgust, revulsion and many other emotions felt by the narrator. These emotions will be mirrored by the reader and they help in intensifying the bond with the story. The readers are in for a surprise and the way the story is set up, it won't be what you think. The second story has a third person narrative and showcases Jerrod who has lost it all and within his mental abyss finds the spark to claw back to defeat his enemy. The change from first person to third wasn't a jarring one however I felt maybe this story would have benefited from a first person approach as it would show how deep Jerrod's mental wounds go.

The author then lets fly his dark side as the reader witnesses the schemes within schemes and finally when all is revealed, the reader might find a modicum of sympathy in their hearts for all that has happened. These stories allow the author to explore the darker side of humanity and it doesn't make for a pleasant scene. Especially with the first novella the author unleashes all of his thoughts and makes the reader stumble continuously with the plot twists. Be assured that what might be apparent in the start is definitely not the whole story. The author had stated that with Prey he wanted to write a story wherein the reader’s perception about a certain character would do a big 180-degree turn from the start to the finish. I’m pleased to report that this is indeed the case and many of the readers will be shocked at the final twist as well.

The only dissonances I felt with the story was in regards to the length. I'm not too fond of short stories and therefore I feel its my personal choice which comes into question in regards to the length of the story. In regards to the first novella, the author was trying to get a compact story that wouldn't have any other interludes to the main plot. The story begins with a physically horrifying scene and ends on a emotionally scarring one. The pace of the story is such that the reader feels compelled to keep turning the pages to see what happens next. So in regards to the length, I felt this could have worked as a longer story as well but ultimately its the author's prerogative and in this case works soundly as well.

CONCLUSION: Tim Marquitz is a writer who loves to explore the darker side of human emotions, all of his previous stories have often catered to these themes and with these two novellas he proves once again there is often more to heaven and hell than Horatio or any of us can presume to know. Give this collection a read if you like to read the darker sides of fiction or if you’re a fan of psychological horror. Prey-Anathema will fit right in within the club of stories that might upset you but to not try them will defeat the purpose of the author to beguile the reader with his dark twisted tales.



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