Ginger Nuts of Horror
By John Boden
This book is ugly. It's gritty and grimy and claustrophobic and unpleasant at turns but as a foundation it is a ferocious and fun read.
It's 30 Days Of Night in OZ, and I mean the prison drama not the over-the-rainbow and ruby slippers nonsense.
Lights Out begins with Digger and his reluctant friend, Randy tunneling out of the maximum security prison they had called home. Randy starts having a freak out because he's afraid of confined spaces and the tunnel is pretty damned confining. In his panic he breaks through the wall into a dark hole, a cavern and there is something waiting for them. Something vicious and timeless and very, very hungry.
That scene lights the fuse that sizzles and pops through the book to the adrenalin-drenched climax. It's a powerhouse prison drama with vile and unsettling creatures. Can the jailhouse preacher and a group of stubborn prisoners survive? I'm not spoiling any of it.
Southard writes with a clean and strong voice. I've read his work before and call myself a fan. With Lights Out, he appears to be paying tribute to those 80's pulp horror novels that lined the shelves in the 80's. It's drips with enough violence to satisfy the genre hardened but also enough of a glimpse into how life is in the big house to work better than any Scared Straight special.