Rating: 5 out of 5
Luke Walker’s horror novel The Day Of The New Gods is original and attention-catching. Brian Jackson and his crew (Buggy/Kev, Andy, John, and Willie) just robbed a bank. They’re commandeering a bus to get them and their loot to their van when something entirely unexpected goes wrong: a rip is opened in the fabric of the universe and three very powerful “gods” start wreaking havoc. One is a giant with living flesh that he sheds and which contaminates all who come into contact with it. One is a green mist that makes people violently insane. The third is… well, mostly just a rumor at this point. People are dying by the thousands. Blood and gore litter the streets. Brian and his crew had planned to pick up Brian’s 12-year-old daughter Brianna and leave Britain for Spain, and now getting to Brianna is the only thing Brian can think about. Unfortunately there’s a lot of pain and death between the two of them.
The process of having to figure out what’s going on largely from looking out the windows of their bus makes the gods’ arrival feel all too real. Fragments of broadcasts from the radio fill in a few gaps, but not by much. Countries are planning on nuking the rip in the sky, and the world holds its breath to see what will happen when they do.
The choice of characters–a group of aging robbers–is fantastic. It’s a random-seeming set of characters to throw into something like this. They have guns, they lack a certain moral sense, and yet they’re bound together very strongly. They don’t want to hurt anyone, and yet rescuing Brianna and themselves trumps everything. The character choice gives this story an unusual tone for cosmic horror.
When the characters come to the attention of one of the gods, their assumptions about what is going on take a tumble. Suddenly they’re fighting for a whole lot more than just their own lives. Things turn into one hell of an action story, with a limited number of bullets, some aging robbers who aren’t as spry as they used to be, and a couple of very sharp knives. I loved this book and look forward to reading more by Walker!
Content note: gore, bad injuries, child death.