Review: “Blue Eel,” by Lorne Dixon

Pros: Some interesting concepts
Cons: Lacking in execution
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Branson Turaco is desperate: he wants to find his missing daughter, Madeline. His search will pull in a couple of people who determine to help him, Spiegler and Abriella. A strange lead takes him to an even stranger group of people: a cult that uses the blood of mysterious blue eels as a psychedelic drug. Their skin takes on a glow of its own, and the cult is very serious about protecting itself. If Madeline was kidnapped by these people, anything could have happened to her.

Lorne Dixon’s Blue Eel is billed as a thriller on Amazon, and the publisher called it horror in the email I received. I might consider it a thriller, but it doesn’t read as horror to me. If anything it felt like there were abortive attempts at horror, where if something had been taken a bit further, or explored more completely, it might have become genuinely horrifying.

I think the bad guys were supposed to read as horrifying. They get drugged up on eel blood from their magic blue eels, sometimes giving them visions into the future. They dress in white robes, and eventually their skin starts to take on a glow. All of this could have been worked into something alien and frightening. Instead, they sneer and threaten exactly like any normal human. They’re all impassive in one scene, and in another they’re shooting a bunch of guns into the air to celebrate something. They read like ordinary assholes bundled up in costumes.

Without including spoilers, I’ll say that the end of the book half-impressed me and half-annoyed me. In some ways it seemed to provide the horror quotient that had been missing. However, that addition was hasty and seemingly half-formed, so it didn’t particularly help. While other parts of the book could have used some tightening up, this is one part that needed more rather than less.

 

NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher
Expected publication date: November 30, 2015

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