Review By Don Sloan
Menacing yellow eyes peer out of the darkness covering the Umatilla Indian reservation and a low, throaty howl carries on the still night wind. Something is out there, and it’s hungry for blood. Human blood.
This is a scary story worthy of Stephen King, and filled with plenty of look-out-behind-you moments. If you like stomach-churning horror, then The One You Feed will land right in your wheelhouse and keep you up all night with all the lights on.
Toby Hoffman just wants to feel like himself again. Lost in a fog of guilt and misery since his mother died earlier in the year, he nevertheless reacts instinctively when he sees the school bully’s unwanted hand slapped away from the waist of his new friend Rachel. He slugs Mike hard and suffers the consequences — a pummeling by Mike, and three Saturdays of detention.
But thoughts of self-pity quickly evaporate when he realizes his best friend Nate has gone missing — the result of a childish prank by Mike. Toby and Rachel drive out into the darkness-draped woods of the reservation — and find Nate stumbling around in blood-covered clothes.
It’s not his blood, however.
Things get weirder when they find Mike’s girlfriend Ashley paralyzed and mute with fear in Mike’s stalled pickup — and no sign of Mike.
Then, Toby sees the yellow eyes, staring down at him from the ridge. Before he can move, however, the hulking shape slinks back into the shadows and is gone.
These characters come alive with carefully crafted writing and flawless pacing. The author clearly has a knack for creating heart-stopping scenes and highly realistic dialogue. The kids act and feel like real-life teens, with all the angst and drama attendant to that age.
You’ll come to care deeply about these and other principal players, especially when the ravening monster begins preying on the whole town. But the Sheriff — Toby’s dad — won’t listen to his son’s assertions that there’s a creature from ancient times roaming the county, creating carnage everywhere it appears — even when he views the evidence himself
“The images of detached limbs, guts and blood were stuck in his eyes like the remnants of a bright light he couldn’t blink away. He stared at a small cluster of blue pines before turning back to what was left of Mike’s body.”
Toby and his friends decide they must find and stop this mysterious evil before more people die. He also finds to his horror that his best friend Nate has been turned into a werewolf by a bite from the Alpha beast — a centuries-old Indian Shaman who has been released from a sealed cave to resume his grisly vendetta against the town of Silver Falls. The town sits on land formerly entrusted to the Umatilla Indians.
Will the incredibly powerful Shaman succeed in savaging the town’s inhabitants? Can Nate ever return to human form again and be redeemed, after brutally dismembering several terrified townsfolk? Will Toby and Rachel overcome their precarious plight and begin to pursue their burgeoning romance?
This is a blockbuster of a book, bringing back all the vibrant horror of the classic old werewolf films, but with a totally updated spin. You’ll cringe and cower, then cheer the good guys on until the last silver bullet finds its mark.
Five-plus stars to The One You Feed. We look forward fervently to devouring the next book in the Shadow Tales series.
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