BOOK REVIEW: THE JINX CHRONICLES: JINX TOWN / AUTHOR: SAM STONE / PUBLISHER: TELOS PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 20TH
What better way for Manchester born horror author Sam Stone to celebrate her eighth year as a prolific published writer than with the first volume of a sci-fi/horror trilogy? Last year’s zombies in space epic Darkness Within showed that the lady’s talents extended beyond bodice-ripping Gothic horror and steampunk. Jinx Town opens up a new dimension in her career – literally.
Out of a nowhere and without warning, Earth is under attack by an alien race called The Jinx. How could we be caught by surprise with all our space surveillance technology? Well, the Jinx don’t mount their attacks conventionally. No alien armada darkening the skies over our major metropolitan areas, no huge flying saucers over our landmarks – the Jink arrive exactly where and when they want via their portal devices. A vortex opens – and there they are, tall alien creatures, dressed in almost antiquarian armour. They strike suddenly and decisively, they have a method of nullifying our weapons (as if the element of complete surprise wasn’t enough) and they leave death and destruction in their wake as they disappear without a trace.
So what are they after? Water? Minerals? Nope – they’re harvesting women.
In a surprisingly short span of time, Earth buckles. Armies are disbanded, lawlessness and dystopia take root. Bands of young men become feral hunters, referred to as “dogs” looting, preying on the weak, killing and taking what they can. Against this backdrop is the central protagonist, Jas – a young schoolteacher on a field trip to the theatre with some of her pupils when the first attack was launched. Stranded in a largely deserted Manchester with her one surviving pupil – she has to conceal her gender to survive, joining a group of ex-soldiers for the safety of numbers – while dealing with the reality that her new-found allies might have a worse fate than the Jinx for her if they discover her secret.
This opening part of the Chronicles sets the scene for what promises to be a galaxy-hopping saga and the narrative’s hectic pace leaves the reader hungry for the next instalment as the story unfolds with some surprising twists. Just when the reader thinks the story might drift into a predictable avenue, Stone turns up the heat and surprises us with a sucker-punch.
A tightly written, unrelenting page-turner, this is the opening salvo of an epic!