Baby Burgers Galore
“The Demon Seeds”
by Derek Muk
Derek Muk is an up-and-coming new writer of horror stories and “The Demon Seeds” is one of his first books. At times, it shows.
The plot concerns an experienced monster hunter, Prof. Taylor, and his naive assistant, Jan, as they come across a cult of devil-worshipers who plot to breed a race of monsters. This is a great idea, and the various twists and turns make this slim volume a quick read with lots of action.
The writing, though, could be sharper. Consider this: “He got dizzy just looking at the circles. Talk about an optical illusion!” The last line adds nothing to the scene and the exclamation point is just out of place. Simply removing the line would help greatly.
Or this 51-word sentence: “She bit her lower lip until it split and drew blood, beads of sweat trickling down her face as she tried to resist, her past self attempting to seize control of her own body again with every ounce of her fiber, yet savoring the delicious taste of her own life source.” Her lip drew blood? And what's a life source?
The passive voice creeps in every few pages, sneakier than a mutant baby-monster. There's an insidious plot to lay out the scenes of horror, without really making the reader experience them. Sometimes, not always, we're given conclusions to something the character experiences, rather than the experience itself. When the reader gets to figure out what is going on, rather than be told, the effect is far stronger and more meaningful.
Towards the end, the heroes save the day by dropping caps in newborn babies. If you like babies rendered into hamburger by the dozen, this is the book for you.
Still, there's enough good story here to keep an eye on Derek Muk. With a little more refinement, he can be great writer.