Review: “Hungry Rain,” Brian Fatah Steele

Rating: 3 out of 5

Brian Fatah Steele’s horror novella Hungry Rain takes place at Woodlands Resort and Camping. A heavy rain falls, leaving behind a strange odor that primarily contaminates the lakes. Later that night, horrific creatures come stalking out of the lakes, casually killing all who flee before them.

I’m actually not convinced that this book had protagonists. It had named people who died about 30 seconds after being introduced, and named people who lasted a few scenes instead of 30 seconds. It kind of seemed like manager Hank might be the main character at first, then it seemed to be girlfriends Laney, Amanda, and Demi, along with possibly college students Mark and Todd (who are working at the mini golf course for the summer). But there were other named characters who stuck around for a while–really too many to be a standard ensemble cast. It was just… unsettling. I was never sure who I was supposed to be identifying with or rooting for.

Some characters, both side and central, are a bit too on-the-nose and one-note. Like open-carry-gun-nut, sexually-liberated-college-student, “budding psychopath” 10-year-old bully (really, we could tell he was a budding psychopath from the descriptions of what he does; we didn’t need to be told it explicitly), and so on. A few characters, such as Amanda and Mark, have more dimension to them thankfully.

The battle is too one-sided. There’s nothing that can harm the monsters. Bullets just annoy them, and no one really has the means to try anything else. The one character who has a science background–just enough to hint at what might be causing this–isn’t used for anything other than postulating about what’s going on. For some reason everyone seems to think that as long as they can live until morning they’ll be okay, but there’s no actual reason for that.

Of course there’s no phone service, but this actually does become a plot point, so that worked out okay. In fact, my favorite part of the book was the very end. Things actually get interesting, the situation changes, we learn a lot more, and I found what was going on to be very intriguing.

Content note for child death and description of animal harm, as well as plenty of general gore.

“Ahh, hell no. This is some white people horror movie shit. Where’s Jordan Peele?”

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