First published back in 2007 by Hadesgate Publications, ‘Terror Island’ was the first full-length novel to be published in hardcopy for Isle Of Man based author Rakie Keig. Originally posted as part of a writing group on the internet, as well as in regular instalments that were added on Keig’s own personal website, once Hadesgate Publications declared their interest in publishing the novel, all traces of the online tale were quickly removed.
With strong influences and connections to the likes of Guy N Smith and David Wellington, Keig was already well known within the online pulp horror writing circles, particularly on pulp horror forums and writing groups.
After receiving a worrying note from her father, Anna Martin along with her fellow student friend Mike Jeffreye take a journey to the remote and uncharted island known as ‘The Island of Laranosk’, ‘The Island of Madness’ or more commonly ‘Terror Island’, where Anna’s father has been working with a team of research scientists.
Once Anna and Mike arrive on the island, they are greeted by the scientists and informed that Anna’s father is away from the camp (to later find out that he has actually gone missing). Anna and Mike are soon privileged to an inside look at what exactly it is that the scientists are researching on this mysterious island. What they are shown is unbelievable.
Terror Island is an island of monsters. Vampires, werewolves and zombies co-exist within its confines; all studied by the scientists that live within the secured base camp that is overseen by a Doctor Ehren.
The vampires are subjected to regular blood tests in exchange for human blood that has been donated by the willing scientists. The process is a relatively stable one. That is until the werewolf scientist, Seth, takes revenge on one of the vampires named Ciaran, whilst trying to extract a blood sample. Seth binds the drugged vampire with silver stakes that are hammered through its wrists and feet and throws the defenceless vampire in with the zombies. However, later on, whilst he is removing what appears to be the deceased corpse of Ciaran in an attempt to hide the evidence, Seth is brought down by the undead vampire alongside a horde of decaying zombies. What’s more, hundreds of the undead are now loose on the island.
The scientists’ camp is soon overrun by the bloodthirsty zombies. The only hope that the camp’s inhabitants have rests with Anna, Mike, Dr Ehren and the camp guard Ramone who were fortunately away from the premises at the time. With the help of the vampire Luca, the young wolf Lyell and the werewolf Brac, first they have to stay alive within the deadly grounds of the island before they can even think of a plan to rescue the other inhabitants of the camp.
But there’s more deadly things lurking on the island than a few hundred hungry zombies. Not everyone is as happy about the human presence on Terror Island as it first appears. Furthermore, it appears that the local wildlife has now evolved into vicious beasts, and a more powerful and deadly breed of the undead are about to be born...
Combining so many elements from classic horror genres, Keig offers up a unique novel that instantly draws a level of intrigue across the board of horror fans. With definite pulp horror influences and a tongue in cheek approach to the plot, Keig has managed to produce a novel that entertains from beginning to end without ever taking itself too seriously.
The principal characters are rich in characterisation, with carefully constructed personalities and individual mannerisms shining through for each one. Strong bonds are formed between all of these characters throughout the duration of the tale, which allows the reader to feel part of the developing story.
The blood-spill is not as frequent as you might have expected looking at the work of Keig’s favourite authors, however, when the violence does erupt, Keig dives straight in to graphic scenes of unashamed gore that will please any good splatterpunk fan. That said, these few and far between scenes remain graphic but never vividly grotesque, maintaining the more light-hearted approach to the dynamic of the tale.
With so many elements involved in the construction of the storyline, Keig manages to successfully juggle the complexities involved with the island well, allowing for a rich and involved storyline to be maintained. From the moment Seth and Ciaran inadvertently unleash hordes of the undead onto the other inhabitants of the island Keig maintains a fast paced and exciting tale with countless twists and turns until the end.
With subplots bursting from the scenes here, there and everywhere, ‘Terror Island’ keeps the reader drawn deep within the storyline, with the many layers finally merging to form one overall exciting and impressively elaborate plot.
All in all, Keig’s debut novel is nothing short of a-mile-a-minute horror entertainment. Keig hasn’t been scared to take on a complex and elaborate plot with numerous off-shooting subplots and intricate character layers. The novel maintains a light hearted manner, with regular bursts of action to keep the fast pace of the storyline throughout its length.
The novel runs for a total of 271 pages.
© DLS Reviews