Genre: Horror Comedy; Crime
Newfoundland, Canada, 1992.
Gale Harbour hasn’t seen any excitement since the military abandoned the base there thirty years ago, unless you count the Tuesday night 2-for-1 video rentals at Jerry’s Video Shack. So when a dead body turns up floating in the town water supply, all evidence seems to point to a boring accident.
Niall, Pius and Harper are dealing with pre-teen awkwardness in the last days of summer before the start of high school. The same night the body is found, the three of them witness unusual lights in the sky over the bay. Is it a coincidence? Are the lights connected to the rapidly-increasing string of mysterious deaths? And what does the creepy old lady at the nursing home have to do with it?
There is an evil older than time hidden deep beneath the waters of the North Atlantic. It is hungry, and vengeful, and it has its sights set on Gale Harbour to begin its path of destruction. All that stands in its way are a group of kids who would rather be playing Street Fighter II...
With this kind of title, you’d expect the story to be super fun and you’d be correct. I had a blast reading Psycho Hose Beast from Outer Space! Granted that I’m not Canadian and therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of that culture, the author perfectly captured the atmosphere of the 90s as I know it. Admittedly, 80s/90s themes are a soft spot for me and the book definitely read like the many adventures from that era that I’ve always loved, though…perhaps darker than some at points.
We are first introduced to Niall and Pius through references to iconic 90s films and video games. From the start, the author implements comedy by making use of the awkwardness of the two nerdy boys’ transition in teenhood. This includes the introduction of the athletic Harper, Pius’ older female cousin, that Niall has so great a crush on that he would neglect everything just to be around her…even though she couldn’t care less.
The book switches 3rd person focus from what is happening with the kids to what Harper’s father (Dick) is up to. After finding a corpse under mysterious circumstances, his investigation winds up crossing paths with the kids who have also been witness to some severely strange and terrifying things. A red-eyed woman randomly appearing and disappearing; mysterious drownings; insane nursing home patients…
I thought the merge of the adult world with the kids’ world was a nice touch. It felt natural and believable, rather than forced in order to keep children as the main characters (which I’ve noticed happens a bit in these sorts of stories). Seeing Dick and the kids join adventures while taking the normal precautions of a parent made it all the more suspenseful when things still went wrong.
Without spoiling anything, the lore of this book is quite cool. It draws on a mix of the supernatural and real-life history and even plays on actual medical conditions (dementia) as something more than what we see. I also loved the emotional aspects of the story, particularly Niall’s relationship with his grandmother and the school bully redemption arc. C.D. Gallant-King has infused a perfect balance of heart and horror in this fully immersive tale. I don’t normally think of something in the comedic genre as a ‘page turner,’ but this one was.
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((review also submitted to Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads))
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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