Scaremonger by Gregory Lamberson

scaremongerIf you’re tuned-in to the world of Greg Lamberson, you might have recently seen an update to his blog featuring a truckload of interesting news, and the quiet murmurs of his first self-published, eBook exclusive, offering – Scaremonger. Well, as it happens, this piece of literary fruit has turned a tasty shade of candy-apple red and is ripe for the picking. The question is: Are you ready for another series of Lamberson-styled crossover-horror fare?

To give you a general background on the book, it’s important to know that Scaremonger, as explained in the preface of the piece, was originally created as a film and starring vehicle for the über awesome Debbie Rochon, and is loosely based on the Lily Dale Assembly – a real-life spiritualist center with ties to the author’s youth. Unfortunately, economic difficulties and hardships made it borderline impossible to create as a film, so it became apparent to Lamberson that this was a story that was going to need to be told on paper. But technically, it’s still on a screen. Was that stretching it? You get the idea.

Now, I wouldn’t be the first to tell you that this is an author who doesn’t write short. By that, I mean his novels are frequently in the 4 and 500 page range, and he, himself, is not shy to tell you that sometimes he just can’t keep the wordage down. The fact that his stories are so laden with mythos and intricate details is something I, for one, have come to depend on. When I’m reading a Lamberson story, I know I’m going to be taken the distance – no matter where that lands me.

So when the author’s first novella came out, I was wary. As it turns out Carnage Road was a major success in experimentation for Lamberson, and easily goes down as one of my favorite novellas of all time. It also left me wanting more of his shorter fare to eat up the time between epic werewolf throw-downs and whatever shit Lamberson would put Helman though in his next installment into that series, when I needed that fix.

Now, earlier I asked if you, the reader, were ready for another Lamberson-styled crossover-horror series… so you can just sit here and confirm the spoiler I dropped. “Did he say that? Is he ruining the story? What a jerk! Who reviews books like that?”

Shush you. Listen. I’m not ruining anything. The cover says the words “A Rosa Thorn Thriller” doesn’t it? So you already knew that. I’m just confirming it. Relax.

What you don’t know (because you haven’t read the damned thing yet) is that this book, while being touted as a “thriller”, definitely has all of the markings of a fun romp you’d expect from any of this author’s previous monster stories. And that’s what it is, to me at least. It’s a monster story. It’s got all the gore and scares, and crazily describes yuckiness you’ve come to expect from Lamberson’s imagination. Sure you could argue that this is a ghost or a witch tale… but the main baddie is so reminiscent of many of the horror villains I love, it’s hard to look at the spiritualist side of the tale through all of the badassery this evildoer is committing.

And if you take a look at the titular character, you’ll see a lot of Jake Helman, Maria Vasquez, and hell… even Tony Mace, in her. She’s tough, she’s a fighter, she’s got a shitty past, and she’s ready to do anything in order to get to her goals. Rosa Thorn is a very strong character, but you can bet, in pure Lamberson fashion, she’s put through her paces in this story. Though, she’s is a bit different from the aforementioned characters… but I won’t give that bit away.

In the end, the only downfall to Scaremonger is that it just felt too short. It’s very apparent that it was culled from a screenplay format to fit into a novella-sized piece of fiction, as the action is almost non-stop, and the scenes are described with an eye cinematic touches, but that isn’t harmful in the least.

As a first foray into the world of eBook self-publishing, I’d say this is a success. I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes Rosa Thorn next.

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