Review: “Camp Slaughter,” Sergio Gomez

Rating: 2 out of 5

Maybe I should learn not to pick up books that Amazon algorithms recommend to me. Sergio Gomez’s Camp Slaughter isn’t bad, but it isn’t particularly good, either. Lakewood Cabin is advertised as the most secluded cabin for rent in Pennsylvania. However, it’s also the site of a number of disappearances. Nadine Lang and her husband Stephen find someone in the cabin when they hear a noise in the middle of the night. That doesn’t go well for them. Sometime later, Fred and his friends go along with Gavin, who’s something of a jerk, to have a week-long vacation at the cabin. Meanwhile, Emeril and Molly are searching for the truth about the area. Emeril is a paranormal researcher, while Molly is a documentarian. They have a rather successful YouTube channel.

The killer, Ignacio, is a mish-mash of obnoxious and even bigoted stereotypes. Naturally the serial killer/cannibal is fat. Naturally he’s mentally challenged. Sometimes he’s a bit childlike; couldn’t see that coming (that was sarcasm). Of course he has a second identity that takes over sometimes. Of course he has a job as a janitor somewhere, where he does such a good job that his bosses love him. (His job is only brought up once and then never seen again, despite the fact that there were characters and some fair details introduced there.)

Some of the details don’t add up. I mean sure, Ignacio is a janitor, but he seems to run around leaving massive splatters and pools of blood (and decapitated heads) so carelessly that someone should have noticed something at some point. Especially with the people who go missing, and his farmhouse not so far away. Everybody also seems to make an awfully swift leap to deciding the killer must be a cannibal. Literally the only evidence they have of that is the fact that people go missing and their bodies are never found.

Sometimes the perspective shifts way too quickly, literally between one paragraph and the next, and you often have to read another page or two before you even realize it’s happened.

There is some decent thriller/slasher fare in here, which is why this gets a 2/5 instead of a 1/5. Obviously, content note for lots of gore with a side of mutilation.

SPOILER WARNING: I wish this book could make up its mind whether it wants to be a supernatural thriller or an “ordinary” thriller. Ignacio apparently sees the souls of the dead, except that this only happens once in the book and never has any relevance to the plot. Likewise Emeril senses something paranormal about part of the lakeside area, but it never has any relevance to the plot and never gets mentioned again. The only strange thing that appears consistently is Ignacio’s bizarre suped-up hearing, and there’s never any explanation for why, when he can hear a person’s heart beating from comparatively far away, screams don’t disable him. It feels like the author couldn’t decide whether he wanted to actually have anything paranormal in here or not. Also, the teens do not make sure the killer is dead. One of them was about to, but the other told them not to. Like, really? Hasn’t at least one of them seen a horror movie? Ignacio also took two bullets–one probably in a bad place–and kept going without any sign of weakness (maybe I should have put that up under stereotypes too). There’s also a moment when Molly picks up Emeril’s gun–which he’s shot a couple of times with no chance to reload–and suddenly it’s fully-loaded. END SPOILERS

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