Have you ever fantasized seeing a gigantic monster lurking in the deep waters of your favorite lake? Ever put on that Scuba gear and go explore the deep dark secrets hidden from the land dwellers?
I did a Scuba dive once. The beautiful deep blue sea, the myriad of fishes, strange conformations of corals, I can still close my eyes and go back to those 35 minutes of heavenly bliss. Yes, I have seen heaven. And that’s under water.
But I haven’t lived the little fantasy of mine, a prehistoric monster evolved with time, chasing me for life.
Thank all the Gods my mother worships for my long and boring life.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about the book.
Primordial is an exciting creature-thriller science fiction with a solid plot, a well-constructed cast of characters, and a memorable predator straight out of the pages from your biology book. The pages on the evolution of species, precisely.
You find out one day, that a monster from your dreams (or nightmares) haunts the water of a huge lake in far away Finland, and is very real.
You are a marine biologist with a shady secret biting your ass.
You might be an attractive TV presenter specialized in bogus stories on myths and legends but in reality, a glorified sex symbol drawing some extra attention and TRP.
You could be a man who believes that creature is some God who demands and deserves sacrifice. You are ready to play a friendly part to mingle with the enemy to keep an eye on their progress in the hunt for a legend.
Imagine you are a billionaire and wackadoddle extraordinaire who is nothing but a spoilt, somewhat sadistic, grown up toddler every ready to throw tantrums when your money doesn’t buy you either loyalty or a madness of your equivalence.
You can be a harmless character whose only fault is being a secondary one, and even though you are adorable and reliable, professionally efficient and loyal, you get to die a horrible death.
David Wood and Alan Baxter have created a tale of two types of monsters and shown us how the line of monstrosity blurs between the two-legged species and the flippered ones.
The book primarily shows us an expedition funded by a billionaire interested in cryptids all around the world and teamed by people with similar interests locate and hunt down a prehistoric aquatic creature living a legendary life in the depth of the Lake Kaarme in Finland.
The creature has been identified by the marine biologist as a prehistoric marine apex predator (won’t reveal the name read the book) which might have evolved over time to be able to frequent the freshwater lake and develop a taste for human flesh.
Though known to be an extinct species, this particular specimen managed to win against time (there were talks about breeding possibilities but the authors left it at that). How? We can’t know from this book. There is a possibility of a sequel so keep your fingers crossed.
But ‘it’ or ‘she'(according to our third person POV/marine biologist because the creature reminds him of his ex-girlfriend), has had help from a fanatic, a loony bin, who worships her, feeds her, and goes to great extent to protect her.
The description of our gigantic friend is sensational. Believe me, my eyes were stuck on my phone for those many minutes. At some point, I could visualize a smaller version of the thing swimming around the pool in our adjacent complex. Not that I have a bone to pick with them. Shhhh.
The tunnels, caves, long lost German Platoon playing an unexpected role (I had hoped our shady lead would get some treasure there), all that are narrated with clarity and superb imagery.
The confrontation of the beast and human was graphic.
I must admit that I actually started enjoying the book once we had reached the lake. The book begins at a good place, hinting at the thrilling adventure the mind-blowing book cover suggests. Then we spend some time in the lead character’s head finding out about his shadowy habits and the consequences before we meet the whole crew. I was growing impatient, waiting for the main action.
Once our friends reach the Lake Kaarme, the suspense builds up and soon becomes intoxicating.
I liked the way backstory was narrated by the lead or the character Old Mo. It never cut the tension, only added to it.
The use of our marine biologist’s ‘gallows humor’ is quite effective in diluting the grim nature of the subject.
He suddenly found several religions and sent up prayers to God, Jesus, Vishnu, Poseidon, and one to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, just to be a smartass, as he passed into the widening tunnel.
The human characters created by Mr. Wood and Mr. Baxter follow the necessary formula of their film versions of monster thrillers. Biologists, filming crew, superior technology, and a billionaire to fund them, a few more questionable members, make a good mix of cast. Shady backgrounds, secret actions in the cover of night, strange and eccentric behaviors, zealots, missing people, everything remain true to the specific subgenre. The romantic angle plays off well. Thanks for not making it unreal like the ‘bad creature movies.’
Like any science fiction movie with biology as a strong element, the thrill factor is high. As expected, there are twist and turns of the tale at regular intervals where human and monster go hand in hand winning some and losing some before the last round when escape or death becomes a possibility. The open-ended closure suggests a welcoming chance of a sequel. I have so many questions about the resident aberration of evolutionary history, and the people who finally survived.
A memorable line from one of the tensest scenes in the book:
He felt like a child trapped in an adult world, impotent in the face of one stupid door.
As you can assume, the hero was locked in a cage.
Thank you, Alan Baxter, for offering me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Alan Baxter is a British-Australian author who writes supernatural thrillers and urban horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dogs. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dogs, and cat. He’s the multi-award-winning author of several novels and over seventy short stories and novellas.
You can find Alan on:
David Wood is an Action-Adventure and Speculative Fiction author and a podcaster. His bestselling Dane Maddock Adventures series was licensed by Amazon for its Kindle Worlds program. He is a member of International Thriller Writers, a second dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a long-suffering fan of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons. David and his family live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
You can find David on:
Publisher: Cohesion Press
Format: Kindle (ARC from author) 296 pages
Sometimes, the legends are true. When eccentric billionaire, Ellis Holloway, hires renegade marine biologist, Sam Aston, to investigate the legend of a monster in a remote Finnish lake, Aston envisions an easy paycheck and a chance to clear his gambling debts. But he gets much more. There is something terrible living beneath the dark waters of Lake Kaarme, and it is hungry. As the death toll mounts, Aston faces superstitious locals, a power-hungry police chief, and a benefactor’s descent into madness as he races to find the legendary beast of the lake.