Violet Eyes

Violet Eyes - John Everson

Though I enjoyed Everson's extended prologue to this novel, Violet Lagoon, I found this one to be somewhat less compelling. Gone was the sense of urgency inherent in a 40-odd page short, and in its place were scenes of random characters being introduced, only in most cases to be killed off in the span of a single chapter.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Spiders make me wee just a little when I come across them. I live in a part of the world where they can grow almost to the size of an iPad, and though I now live too close to the city to run into fuckers of that ilk, I had my fair share of interactions with them when I was younger. So I should be an easy mark for Everson's Violet Eyes. This is the sort of horror novel which should have me waking in a cold sweat, swiping away at the darkness to fend off the spiders that it turned out I was dreaming were falling toward my poor, defenceless face (yes, this used to happen).

Instead, I never once felt anything except appreciation for the pseudo-science he wove into his tale of a part of southern Florida set upon by a plague of these spiders and their symbiotic fly relations. Everson sets up his main characters of recently divorced Rachel, her son Eric, her bad guy ex Anders, and new love interest Terry, well enough, but every other member of the town the events take place in has "fodder" figuratively tattooed across their forehead, or as stated above, does not see out one of Everson's trademark short chapters.

As such, the book ends up feeling bloated around the middle, as too much time is spent dispatching any number of randoms in virtually the same way, rather than building an array of credible supporting characters and having the reader become invested in their survival.

For Everson purists there is still time for plenty of ill-advised sex, so don't worry, your go-to erotic-horror author has you covered, but otherwise, this is all fairly standard for a humans-messing-with-nature-and-look-what-happens story.

Though far from bad - and indeed much better than most killer spider novels I've read in the last few years - Violet Eyes remains just a decent way to pass a few hours, rather than a terrifying one.

3 Nasty Migraines of a Different Kind for Violet Eyes.