TITLE: The Resurrectionists (Salem Hawley, #1)
AUTHOR: Michael Patrick Hicks
AGE RANGE: Adult
Having won his emancipation after fighting on the side of the colonies during the American Revolution, Salem Hawley is a free man. Only a handful of years after the end of British rule, Hawley finds himself drawn into a new war unlike anything he has ever seen. New York City is on the cusp of a new revolution as the science of medicine advances, but procuring bodies for study is still illegal. Bands of resurrectionists are stealing corpses from New York cemeteries, and women of the night are disappearing from the streets, only to meet grisly ends elsewhere. After a friend’s family is robbed from their graves, Hawley is compelled to fight back against the wave of exhumations plaguing the Black cemetery. Little does he know, the theft of bodies is key to far darker arts being performed by the resurrectionists. If successful, the work of these occultists could spell the end of the fledgling American Experiment… and the world itself.
I’d been meaning to pick up some of Michael Patrick Hicks’ work for quite some time after hearing friends rave about it, so I’m really pleased to have finally gotten the chance to do so with The Resurrectionists! I’m a big fan of subversive Lovecraftian horror, so I jumped at the chance to read this little novella featuring a recently freed slave as its hero, and I won’t hesitate to tell you that Salem is so damn easy to root for. He’s a genuinely likeable character and I definitely found myself on the edge of my seat more than once, worried for his safety.
The stakes are very high in The Resurrectionists, as our biggest threat isn’t even the terrifying monsters seeping into our world so much as it is the ways that humans will destroy one another without a moment’s remorse, whether their fuel be hate, racism, or simple cruel curiosity. Besides Salem and a few very minor side characters, don’t go into this one expecting to find too many characters to love!
Hicks’ writing is lovely and quick to the chase, and there’s a lot of oddity and depravity here that’s really fantastically well-done, though sensitive stomachs might want to steel themselves before heading into the scenes in the surgical rooms as there’s a lot of gore (which I enjoyed to no end).
The only real complaint that I had, and the reason I couldn’t quite mark this one higher than 4 stars, is that sometimes it felt like I was reading two separate storylines in the same novella, rather than two sides of the same story. That could totally just be me and the weird funk I’ve been in with my reads lately, but even the ending of this novella had me feeling like the plot had been buried a bit. While it wasn’t a perfect read, I still had fun with it and would be interested in checking out more of Hicks’ work in the future.
Thank you so much to High Fever Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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