Goliath by Russ Watts

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Last Free on: 7th Jul 17
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...As trashy monster pulp fics go, I'd give this a five. It has screams, it has blood and it has science taking a holiday....

The best way to summarise the plot is a mix of Godzilla (the American version) and Tremors: nuclear tests mutate an underground predator and force it to the surface where it feeds. In the first couple of chapters it is an unlucky school aprty and town, then the main plot kicks in and it moves to a tourist party that eventually hole up in a desert town and try to survive.

The problem with pulp books is that if I try to analyse them I find all the little details, like four characters with names starting with the same letter, that mean it shouldn’t be a good book. However these are also part of what make it good pulp fiction.

There are some incredibly gory death scenes, including one from the point of view of a person being eaten alive. The author is fond of the word half, and the upper and lower half of bodies part company quite often.Other people get trodden on. For fans of graphic deaths and gore, yes, you will find this book right up your alley.

The plot is simple: survive. By Chapter 8 I was actually disappointed that people with so much sense otherwise were trying to take the dinosaur on with baseball bats instead of moving on to creative weaponry, like mains power. They never really do even after seeing a gas tank explosion damage it more than a gunshot. Likewise no one with a gun targets weak points, they just shoot the skin. That wouldn’t stop a croc, let alone a dinosaur.

The characterisation is standard for this type of story, but sometimes the women and the attitudes taken to them, really do hinder the group. Like the hero not leaving the unreliable guy with the bulk of the group because his wife was with them (and obviously he stood a better chance of managing the guy one-to-one than eight-to one). I was rather praying for her to pick up a gun, tell her husband to leave and that one way or another he wouldn’t be a problem when he got back. (It would also have allowed the From the Dark Waters solution to the monster which was cold-blooded as anything I have seen, and would have worked.) She didn’t.

In general it is easy to get a grip on people’s characters, although they are under considerable stress. James, the resident waste of space, is legitimately annoying, to the point where I am surprised he was still breathing by chapter 8. Hobble him, kick him out and let him distract the monster from contributing members. I was rather disappointed by his comeuppance. I’m not sure how old Alyce is meant to be. The books says seven but she’s a little slow on the uptake for that age and keeps insisting that people she has seen eaten are alive…And having translated the German backpacker’s last words, he got exactly what he had coming to him. Blame everyone but yourself, why don’t you?

This book does suffer from the classic problem of the good guys not being allowed to be killers so the bad guy does something stupid or chance just happens to work out in a way that kills him. Worse things happen to total innocents than to the people who really have it coming. That’s not just because of the way things work out, but because the good guys rely on chance to make sure they don’t have to act.

One really nitpicky issue I did have with this book, which I deliberately suspended disbelief on because it is magical nuclear dinosaur mutants, is the mass issue. A T-rex would be sated by one goat. One of these creatures in five minutes eats a pride of lions and several zoo visitors. Another eats a minimum of seven armed troops and their equip (none of whom pull the pin on grenades as they are going down). That’s getting on for a ton of mass.

Overall though it was a good pulp read. I love the Tremors films (all three of them) and series, so this is the type of story that appeals to me. As a story, for general readers, it is a three. As trashy monster pulp fics go, I’d give this a five. It has screams, it has blood and it has science on holiday.

I will be looking to see if it has sequels (dear author that’s a hint)

This was reviewed as part of Dino-thon, June 2017.

Rating: 3
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Demi (6 August 2017)
I have seen a couple of reviews for this book and the overall consensus seems to be that it is good. I'll definitely have to check this out.

Julia (15 August 2017)
This is not really a genre that I read but this is the second good review that I have read about this book. Maybe I need to step out of my comfort zone and read it.

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