First published back in August of 2009, British author Joseph D’Lacey’s post-apocalyptic novella ‘The Kill Crew’ formed the first instalment in what would later become his ‘Testament’ series.

The novella was later rereleased, together with the second story in the ‘Testament’ series entitled ‘The Failing Flesh’, within Horrific Tales Publishing’s double-novella hardback ‘The Veil: Testaments I & II’ (2016).

DLS Synopsis:
The crew goes out every night.  Anyone can volunteer, but only seven will ever take the shift.  That’s the way it’s always been.  The rules of the Station.  If something goes wrong, they only lose a few.

They’d been holed up in the Station ever since The Long Silence.  Two hundred odd bodies, crammed together within a walled-off enclosure that had once been the strip between Neilson and McKinley Station.

They’d named themselves the Stoppers because they lived in a station.  Because they were going nowhere.  And because they put an end to Commuters.

Outside their hastily erected sanctuary, by day, the city was silent.  But come night, the Commuters came out.  Clawing at the walls of the Station.  Pining for the bodies inside.

The Kill Crew were there to protect the Stoppers.  To leave the Station as dusk became nightfall.  When the city took on the strange green hue that had been with them since all this began.  Since the day when anything with a spark of electricity running through it died.

Of course they had their weapons.  Sherri Foley had her two pump-action shotguns – Cain and Abel.  The guns had been enough to keep the Commuters off her back.  Enough to keep her going out into the city’s streets night after night – popping Commuters heads as they went.  Although they still lost men.  And each one they lost, would deplete their numbers further.

But they had to keep going out.  Not only to keep the Commuters away from the Station, but also to make it feel like they were doing something.  Anything.  Fighting back.

They’re the Kill Crew.  Everyone knew, without them the Station dies…

DLS Review:
Oh yes, bring it the fuck on.  This here’s one damn entertaining piece of post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror fiction.  Think Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’ (1954) meets ‘The Day Of The Triffids’ (1951) meets a pretty much anything by David Moody.  Yeah, we’re firmly within end-of-the-world territory here, and things are looking increasingly bleak for the remaining survivors holed up in their makeshift sanctuary.

Outside of the Station’s high walls the city stays silent during the day.  But of course, at night the Commuters come out.  Now, these ingeniously imagined zombie-like office workers are all over the city.  For whatever reason, they’re after the remaining survivors – wanting to take them alive for whatever terrifying reason they may have.

It’s only guess work why it’s the office worker types who were affected and became these mindless zombie-like beings.  But the idea of a silent city, where those wearing suits and ties are the enemy, is quite frankly nothing short of utterly inspired genius if you ask me.

The story is focused around the character of Sherri Foley – an ex-hairdresser who’s adapted to the hardboiled post-apocalyptic world with fucking gusto.  She’s now your pump-action wielding heroine, ready and willing to kick some serious Commuter ass each and every frigging night of the week.  Of course she’s not alone in this fucked-up new world.  Whenever she’s back at the Station, Sherri’s looking after eleven-year-old Trixie as best she can.  She’s also got a boyfriend-by-necessity named Isaac Delgado (aka Ike) always sniffing around her.  Together, the three of them are trying to ride out the horror of this violent new world by forming a loose family unit.

For a ninety page novella D’Lacey certainly crams in the post-apocalyptic goods.  Equal measures horror as there is sci-fi, the story thunders along at a breakneck pace, throwing in enough zig-zagging changes in course to keep you gripped and wondering where the hell the story’s going next.

There’s a hell of a lot of hardass brutality in the story.  Sherri (our principal protagonist) is as stern and unforgiving as they come (when she wants to be).  But she’s also prone to allowing her guard to drop.  Even in these most unforgiving and hostile of times, those moments of compassion can creep out.  They can be dangerous.  But ultimately, it makes her human.  

All in all the novella’s one hell of a rip-roaring post-apocalyptic offering, with so many numerous layers of sci-fi horror shoehorned in that you’ll constantly feel like you’re in motion.  The added emphasis on the human condition, thrust into the maelstrom of end-of-the-world uncertainty, is delivered with the skill of an absolute master storyteller.  There really is so damn much squeezed into this beast.  And don’t go expecting a Disney ending.  It just aint that kinda party.

The novella runs for a total of 77 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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