The long-awaited, and eagerly anticipated publication of Rakie Keig’s second full length novel ‘Moths’, finally found its home with AswangPress; their second publication after their earlier release of Guy N Smith’s ‘Nightspawn’ (2010).  From the ashes of GhostwriterPublications’ failed realisation of publishing the novel, AswangPress saw the novel finally available in October of 2010.

The tale was born out of Keig’s earlier short story ‘The Moths That Ate New Jersey’ that appeared in GhostwriterPublications anthology ‘Creature Feature’ (2009) which sadly only saw a very limited print run.  After Keig’s partner convinced her to expand on the short, seeing the potential for a full novel in the concept and plot, Keig set to expanding the story with even more animal attacking mayhem bursting from its pages.  Keig’s partner was right – and the end result was a pulp-horror-fest of giant moths rampaging through a tight and action-filled storyline.

DLS Synopsis:
After spotting the local coast guard’s lifeboat moored alongside a large sea-wrecked tanker that had been grounded and abandoned on the rocks of Quester’s Bay, Charlie Davis sets to investigating the wreck.  However, what awaits Charlie in the exposed bowels of the sea-torn ship will make his inquisitive exploration his very last.

Close by at New Jersey Farm, Adam and his wife Elsie, together with their son Robbie, are moving Adam’s father, Jeffrey, into one of the two annexes located on the farm’s grounds.  However, before Jeffrey has time to properly settle into his new home, news of a mysterious slaughter of cattle at the nearby Meredith Farm begins to emerge.  Furthermore, the local police authorities soon discover the lifeless body of Old Jack, the local coastguard, as well as the ravaged remains of Charlie Davis.  A horrific new threat seems to be casting an eerie shadow over the quiet rural community.

Before long the bodies of two local lads, Darren and Clyde, are found washed-up; having been viciously mauled by the flesh-hungry beasts.  With all hell breaking loose within the local community, Father Frances Reuben finds himself in the thick of it all when he visits those he feels may be in need of his comfort.  Meanwhile, Robbie has spotted what appears to be a group of strange looking giant white bats, circling above the grounded vessel at Quester’s Bay.  However, these thick-bodied beasts sporting huge leathery wings and needle sharp teeth are no bats.  These are gigantic moths with a taste for human flesh...

DLS Review:
From the outset, Keig sets down a gripping and fast-paced tale, bursting at the seams with pure 80’s pulp horror goodness, from which Keig most definitely draws much of her literary inspiration.

Much of the storyline and premise draws quite similar comparisons to many of the scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds’ (1963).  Indeed, the ‘chimney swarm’ scene in ‘The Birds’ is echoed in both ‘Moths’ and its earlier incarnation as the short story ‘The Moths That Ate New Jersey’.  Further still, perhaps a much closer comparison (and possibly the main inspiration behind the tale) can be found with the giant poison-spitting moths from John Halkin’s pulpish delight ‘Squelch’ (1985).

The characters are each given their own carefully crafted characteristics, each one developed upon throughout the tale to allow for a sturdy reader-to-character connection.  The result is the formation of a character rich family who are thrust into the very epicentre of the marauding moth mayhem.

Father Frances Reuben is perhaps the most developed upon character within the story, with a complex array of conflicting emotions and characteristics portrayed within this uniquely inspired individual (a very Guy N Smith character trait).

Once the first moth attacks are fully detailed, Keig lets loose with a torrent of action-filled horror; maintaining a frenzied storyline of pulpy-energy and pace, nestled amongst a suitably entertaining level of bloodshed and gore.

The moths are successfully detailed as the ferocious beasts that the storyline requires, without going too wildly over-the-top with their monstrous characteristics or falling into the pit of a laughably camp threat that somehow terrorizes the community.

Although the tale concludes with a somewhat predictable finale (especially for those who have read the earlier short story), Keig manages to pull it off in an utterly edge-of-the-seat manner, with last minute twists and turns to the storyline crammed in until the very last word is read.

All in all, the tale is a triumphant return to the ‘creatures vs mankind’ subgenre of the 70’s and 80’s pulp horror era.  Keig maintains a constant pace of desperation in the face of a monstrous new threat, whilst laying down a subtle (and perhaps unintentional) homage towards the trapped situational premise often utilised since it first appeared in the classic Romero movie ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ (1968).

The novel runs for a total of 144 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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