"Tribesmen" Book Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Published by Ravenous Shadows
Written by Adam Cesare
2012, 112 pages, Fiction
Released on February 1st, 2012
Writer and editor extraordinaire John Skipp now has another cool project to add to his long list of successes: Ravenous Shadows. Built on the idea that short, powerful novellas can be as electrifying and entertaining as longer works, Ravenous Shadows officially released its first four books on Tuesday, February 7. I devoured Adam Cesare's Tribesmen and, if Cesare's work is any indication of what's to come, Ravenous Shadows should definitely be on your radar.
Tribesmen is a combination of adventure, horror, action and homage to the ultra-violent, gore-soaked "Italian Cannibal" movies that became very popular in the early ‘80s. If you're a fan of films like Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust and Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox, consider this book a definite must-read.
The story follows an Italian director and his ragtag crew as they land on an island to shoot a cannibal movie in three days. Left on a chunk of land with no hotels, running water or electricity, a few facts that the director, Tito Bronze, decided to keep from his crew, the team is surprised to find that there are no natives to put to work for them. However, the island does have a few surprises in store for the group and soon some of them begin to hear voices.
Although the group ignores it, the island is full of the ghosts of those that once lived there and were massacred. By the time an old woman with backward-facing feet shows up, the readers are hooked into a fun, bizarre, fast-paced story. When the star of the film disappears into the jungle and returns covered with the skin and blood of a pig, what ensues can only be described as a psychological catastrophe that pulls everyone in. After the first head is split and the first set of entrails devoured in the name of pure cinema, Cesare somehow manages to keep up the pace while throwing survival into the already crazy mix of gore, insanity, humor and filmmaking.
The narrative in Tribesmen delivers on all the points that Ravenous Shadows claims make a novella as good as a longer book: it's engaging, dynamic and fun to read. Also, Cesare's prose is sharp and direct, which goes perfectly well with a story that doesn't let up until the gory film Bronze sets out to shoot is in the hands of the producer and plenty of bodies are left behind to fertilize the cursed island's soil.
If you like high-speed tales with a good dose of madness and blood, pick up a copy of Tribesmen today.