Nothing is going right for Antoine. He lives in a dilapidated apartment, he just lost his job and he has a wife and baby to support. As he arrives home his wife shows him a winning Money Carlo ticket from an auto dealership saying he has won $5,000. Antoine thinks it’s a scam but what choice does he have but to go and try to get his money.
Antoine takes a bus to the dealership which is out on the edge of town. When he arrives he meets Jon Dangle the dealership owner and man who issued the winning ticket. Jon has a dark secret beneath his dealership and he needs someone like Antoine to act as a sacrifice to keep it hidden. Antoine has walked into a nightmare that no one has ever escaped from. He’s now trapped in an underground cavern and something is hunting him. Will he ever see his wife and child again?
Broken Shells by Michael Patrick Hicks is a fast paced gore fest in a subterranean Hell. The concept of this book was what drew me in. I love the idea of a man down on his luck thinking he got a big break but finding that what he really got was something far worse than his original problem. Antoine is a great character, you feel sorry for him but at the same time you see that he is not necessarily a good person. In the beginning we see he has a temper that gets him in trouble, he starts to change when he realizes what’s important to him but his anger still causes him problems. I loved how he remembers how he wanted to abandon his family but when he fears for his life his main motivation is to see them one more time.
Joe is another character in the book who has a lot of depth to him. In the beginning you see him as the villain and you hate him for what he did to Antoine. Then you get into his background and realize that he’s doing what he feels he has to do. He’s still a bad person but you understand him You can sympathize with him as you see how his family has put a burden on him and you hear about how his life didn’t turn out for him or his wife. Joe’s main motivation is to keep the family secret and he’s willing to do anything to keep it, even if it means harming what he sees as people who won’t be missed.
My only issue with Broken Shells was the ending, I don’t want to give anything away because until that point it was a great ride. The last part seemed like your standard horror ending and it was a depressing way to end it. That being said the way the story progresses I couldn’t see it ending any other way. This book is well worth your time and its the perfect length. It’s never boring, the violence is described in vivid detail and the action is non-stop. You get all this and Michael Patrick Hicks still manages to add information on Indian mythology along with complex characters and great detail on how what lies beneath lives. What more can you ask for in a horror story?