book review, horror

Edit by Rick Chesler

After a renowned geneticist is found dead in his home, a strange dinosaur claw near his body, a series of animal attacks in the Everglades draw newly minted ranger, Sara, and zoologist, Rebecca, together. Could the dead scientist be linked to the seemingly prehistoric creatures roaming wild in Florida, and will Sara and Rebecca live long enough to find out?

This book has a promising set up. A man working for a genetic engineering company called BioGen is found dead. Is it suicide? Was he murdered? How does the remarkably fresh dinosaur claw beside his body fit into the puzzle?

Sara and Rebecca seem good candidates to carry the story forward. The rookie ranger full of enthusiasm to get to the bottom of the spate of animal attacks in the Everglades, and the former colleague of the dead scientist, hoping to get samples of the strange creatures so she can find out where they come from.

Unfortunately, after a couple of chapters everything goes horribly wrong for this book.

Plot wise, 90% of the book concerns Sara as she flounders across the Everglades pursued by one impossible creature after another. Why BioGen is engineering and releasing these CRISPR monstrosities is never revealed, nor is the reason for the dead geneticist with the dinosaur claw, and we are supposed to believe that the crisis is contained by the end of the book despite the fact that Florida is teeming with these released creatures and no one has done anything to capture them.

For a creature feature, I found the animals disappointing. There is a monster with the body the size of a house, but it’s snake neck and head is so small that it’s impossible to shoot at. Another animal is a crocodile with a T-Rex head, as if BioGen had grafted animals together, Dr Frankenstein style, rather than bioengineering totally new species. The most prevalent creatures are giant millipedes and worms, which I found hard to get excited about.

The most bizarre aspect of this book, however, is that it is full of errors. Children are introduced in one scene, disappear for pages, before reappearing suddenly. They vary in number, are referred to as two girls and a boy yet ‘one of the boys’ does something a few pages later. They are never named and are referred to by Sara and Rebecca as ‘The boy’ or ‘the older girl’ when talking to the mother of these children. Early on in the book they are able to ford four feet of water, but have aged backwards to toddlers before the end.

These errors are throughout the book. It’s both Sara’s first day on the job and she’s been there a month. A man speaks the first word Sara’s heard him utter, despite speaking for several paragraphs prior. Sara parks her car near to a campsite, but then has to drive another vehicle to get back to it and her car is never seen again, even when rangers looking for her visit the campsite. Sara is both the first and last to ford the water. She fires her gun, yet later tells a character she hasn’t fired it and has a full clip. Rebecca hides somewhere and is then back with the group. A flock of pterosaurs are mistaken for birds, change size every time they are mentioned, and end up as six foot tall creatures that stomp you. Four men set out in two boats to rescue Sara and mysteriously turn into five men before reverting back to four. One character, distractingly named Sam Gumshoe, starts on one boat before magically hopping to another.

Then there is the plain weird behavior. A man in a vehicle without walls or floor decides to exit through the window when it gets submerged, trapping himself. When the croc-Rex decides to pummel him to death with his huge, unwieldy head, Sara is ‘mortified’ and his wife says that it wasn’t a bad way to die. A limo sized monster hops nimbly through the tree tops but crushes tents as soon as it lumbers through a campsite. BioGen keeps multiple lizards in aquaria (I thought they were for fish and aquatic animals) but there are no people feeding them or cleaning up after them. A creature with the body the size of a house likes to kill people by lying on top of them. Sara sustains multiple injuries but forgets about them immediately. Three women and a varying number of children run through the Everglades without food or water and lock themselves into a windowless concrete building and never feel hot or dehydrated. Six foot bird dinosaurs like to hop into helicopters and stomp things for fun. A door is described at great length opening inward and then sometimes opens outward.

You might think that, with all these errors, it was a sloppily put together first draft rushed onto kindle. However, this book was published by a reputable small press who have published many books by this author. The mind boggles at how this happened.

I award Edit

Edit is available for $4.12 ebook and $11.95 print book on Amazon.

7 thoughts on “Edit by Rick Chesler”

  1. Sounds appalling – I chuckled at the errors you listed. I had to go into GoodReads and look at the reviews and to my absolute amazement while there were one stars for the reasons you have said, there were also loads of 4 and 5 stars. I looked in Amazon – 276 reviews and an average of 4 stars – again 1 star for the basic errors and stupid story but so many people gave 4 or 5 stars. I really don’t understand that!

    Liked by 1 person

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