Coming into Down, I was still trying to work out Nate Southard. After loving Red Sky and quite enjoying Scavengers, I found his more recent Lights Out to be a huge disappointment.
So I was wary about this one. Another disappointment would probably see me abandon his writings and move in for greener pastures. Especially when Southard himself had described this books as his most under-rated work.
So the good news is that Down, to my mind, is a quality read filled with realistic characters who are more complex than those usually found within this genre. It starts exceptionally strongly with Southard effortlessly establishing his characters as they ready to perform a concert, while flashing forward to when their plane is about to crash over a large expanse of forest.
Things then settle down for a lengthy period of time, with a creature roaring and banging on the broken fuselage, but never really committing to much other than taking dead bodies away for some reason. And though the characterisation does continue to develop, this middle section of Down does suffer from some scenes that feel overly repetitive and unnecessary.
Southard then gets things back on track as the rationale for what is stalking the survivors is gradually revealed, culminating in an excellent finale that fans of Lovecraft in particular should get a kick from.
Bold, entertaining and generally engaging, Down is a memorable novella from an author who is now three of four for me - and that's most definitely a good enough ratio for me to begin seeking out book five.
All of which means I guess I can now say I've worked out Nate Southard.
He's on my "To Read" list of authors.
3.5 Junkies Gotta Score for Down.