Scorpius Rex
by William Burke
Severed Press

"Hansie raised his rifle just as the ten-foot scorpion leapt from the shadows, barreling at him like a charging rhino. He let loose on full automatic, emptying his magazine into the creature’s face. And then it was on him."

Burke has been involved in television and film production for many years, a significant portion of it devoted to science fiction and horror. Here he presents his second novel, which borrows from the best in the field and adds plenty of his own imagination and creativity. What begins as a routine assignment by a team of petroleum engineers at a job site in Zimbabwe turns into a nightmare when it is discovered that their gas-related work unleashes giant, angry, primeval scorpions. This marauding army of behemoth arachnids isn't the only enemy the engineers and their intrepid leader must confront. There's even a human contingent with goals and plans of their own that must be faced down and defeated for the sake of the world. The story moves quickly because the extraordinary, inexplicable, and terrifying events that build this tale move just as rapidly.

Although there is not much backstory given for the characters, there are more than enough thrills, chills, and snickers for readers to enjoy. Bits and pieces of a dozen books and movies show up in this novel. They do so not just in the terror foisted on unsuspecting innocents but also in the human drama, such as the bad decisions that set the horror in motion. (After all, what would Jaws be if the mayor didn't decide to open the beach for July Fourth?) Yes, the author's book uses similar devices as others have in the past, but there's nothing wrong with that. This is because Burke writes economically, compellingly, and well. And those are the most important elements for any good fiction.

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