||Wild Child Publishing
A story about a demented crime scene photographer and a man who just wants to be away from the city. They both find themselves thrown in a supernatural conflict.
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Wild Child Publishing
Wild Child Publishing
Fred Peters, a crime scene photographer who loves his job, snaps photos of the latest Lake Park murder victim. He doesn't know that the mutilated corpse tied to the chair in front of him was the victim of a creature from another world....
Cid Spencer wants to escape from the inner city and rents a small studio apartment on the outskirts of town. He sits at the door, staring out into the empty streets and unforgiving darkness, unaware that he is about to be pulled into a world where the sun dawns black....
An Excerpt from: Syndrome
Copyright © 2008 James Patrick Riser
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Blood beads worked their way through the cuts in my leg and formed vague red lines. The lines evolved into a bold tic-tac-toe pattern.
I used razorblades for precision cuts. With practice, drawing on flesh resembles writing on paper, and you can always learn to ignore the pain.
Muffled screams from the living room sounded from the other side of the bathroom door. I ignored my girlfriend and mother-in-law's argument and concentrated on my game of tic-tac-toe.
X, O, X, O. Cat's game.
The blood drew out of my body, and I was drawn out of my mind. I lost focus on the world around me, and the crimson lines grew bolder, intensifying my attention. The pattern elongated in each direction, and the blood streamed down the bend of my leg and dripped on the dirty, tiled floor. I pondered on the deepness of the cuts this time, but already knew the light, almost-scars would be beautiful.
I got up from the toilet, turned, and dropped to my knees. I bent over and lapped up the blood greedily.
Something glass broke in the living room, and the volume of the argument turned up several notches. Any louder and the landlord would come up here again. It was never pleasant when he did; he always left uncomfortable silence and tension in his wake. The landlord had a voice that could be heard several yards away at a normal volume and a mile when he yelled. His thin, muscular frame, long greasy hair, and slack-jawed features reminded me of a character from a hee-haw skit.
Once, I asked him a question about parking permits, and he scratched his five o'clock shadow characteristically.
"Hummm." He made the sound through his nicotine-scarred throat without even opening his mouth. "Naw, don't worry 'bout it," he concluded and took a gulp from his tall boy can of Budweiser.
Most encounters with him followed this format: a quick question, a quick answer then back out of the door, back to our modest one-bedroom apartment in the ghetto, in a complex that people called The Yellows. The apartments, located almost strategically on the back streets, sat under a veil of darkness and eternal unease.
Five buildings made up the whole complex, all painted vomit-yellow with identical door and window placements. It took two times of me walking into the wrong building, up the wrong stairs, knocking at the wrong door, and having it answered by the wrong person for me to finally realize that I wasn't at the right place.
A door slammed, and silence ensued.
The Dread Syndrome by James Patrick Riser is an intelligent title that doesn’t mind getting down into the gore with its unique take on a morality message. It is a work that one needs to “give a chance” due to lack of a gripping opening, but horror movie fans, specifically torture and murder based ones, will find that Riser has taken the genre one step above and beyond the grotesque they so love and with supernatural slant.
The opening is a bit muddled and lacks anything truly gripping to pull a reader in whole-heartedly. I was a bit put off by the story being told in the past tense, with initial character interaction being dull. Confusion set in at first for me when I wasn’t even sure if the first narrator was male or female until later on, making my imagination useless at the start. The story does go back and forth from first person to third person between characters if that matters to you as a reader.
Eventually you get to the first death scenario and things pick up to a degree. Once past the killer and victim section we are introduced to the crime scene photographer who I thought would be the main protagonist from the get-go. As he takes pictures of a grisly crime scene you are immediately shown that there is more creepiness to this character than there is goodness and though one may not be able to identify fully with his thought, most will probably agree with some of the ponderings. This character to me, is the guts of the story, the character arch of most interest by far. As for the crime scene itself and further blood spills: not for the squeamish. Perhaps you have visually perused the corpses to be found on websites such as Rotten.com, but if you even have a half powered imagination James Patrick Riser exploits that and gives you images that make Rotten.com PG-13.
The biggest gripe I have in regards to the copy I read would be the format. The e-book I was reading lacked spaces between the lines and thus was hard on the eyes and hindered my reading speed greatly. I’m not sure if this is crappy design on Wild Child Publishing’s part or merely an aspect of my reviewer copy. Even when reading works of the proven horror masters (King, Koontz, Barker) my short attention span wants to skip along from dialog bit to dialog bit as if I am watching a movie. Due to the format it was near impossible to move at the reading pace I wished with The Dread Syndrome.
When all the blood and guts hit the fan will horror fans be cool or be cooled towards The Dead Syndrome? James Patrick Riser has not reached master craftsman level just yet in storytelling structure, but it is the wet delights and interesting depths of character and horror in progress that stands out. At the current purchase price of just over three bucks, it is indeed worth giving it the chance it needs to suck in your morbid curiosity and craving for intelligent usage of gore. As his voice grows with age and experience, future fans may want to have a copy of this to look back on and not just to laugh at the cop with the cliché drinking problem.
- Wes Laurie
Part Saw, part Hostel, and part Fallen (the Denzil Washington movie), Syndrome, an e-book by James Patrick Riser, starts off strong and ends with a bang!
This e-book reads quickly and can certainly be done in one sitting, it comes in at just over 50 pages.
It is published by Wild Child Publishing, and can be purchased at their website for $3.25.
It follows a young man and his girlfriend as they go through dark motions in their lives. There is something about them, something secret. It also follows something far darker and far more sinister.
James Riser’s writing here pulls you into the story from page one. It has a realistic quality to almost every description and at times makes you wonder if the author himself had actually gone through parts of the writing (yes, they are that descriptive!).
Upon finishing the read you cannot help but beg for a further installment as it could easily have further events take place. There are a couple of questions left unanswered, so we can only hope James puts fingers to keyboard and types out more of this story. I personally can see it growing in leaps and bounds with more and more characters getting involved.
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