"The Wild Dark" Book Review

Written by Steve Pattee

Published by Strange Wilds Press

the wild dark katherine silva poster large

Written by Katherine Silva
2021, 399 pages, Fiction
Released on October 12th, 2021


There's a scene early on in Katherine Silva's The Wild Dark where I thought was a cheap deus ex machina. And I was a little annoyed because, up to that point, I was all in. The joke was on me, though, because not only is the incident not a deus ex machina, it's also the theme of the book. This is what you get for not reading a synopsis.

The Wild Dark was my first visit into Silva's world, and I'm already eager to return. The book follows an ex-cop, Liz, as she traverses an apocalyptic landscape. Seems like a rip in the fabric that separates our world from one the dead inhabit is making things interesting. Dead folks are attaching themselves to a select group of live ones. The rub, though, is only the live person can see the person from their past. In Liz’s case, it's her former partner, Brody. But why he "chose" her instead of his living wife is a mystery, so is how he died.

Oh yeah, there are also giant wolf-like creatures slipping through, hunting both the living and the dead. Good times.

It's been a good while since I've read a chunky book, especially one that has an apocalyptic flavor. I think the last one was Monstre. And, boy, I didn't realize how much I missed it until I traveled in Silva's wilderness. This is a great read.

With The Wild Dark, Silva does something terrific authors do: she makes the apocalypse about the people and not the world ending. Her characters are fully developed and very *real*. Plus, she doesn't treat her creations like delicate little flowers. People, people you like, they die. And sometimes it's not pretty. Just like in real life.

Another way Silva shows her skills as a writer is how she deftly dances with the ghosts here. It would be so, so easy to use the undead as a crutch. In a pickle? No problem! Your friendly neighborhood ghost is here to help! Granted, there are times when Brody does help her out of situations, but it's all very fluid and natural, and you never feel cheated.

Silva also does a fantastic job keeping a lot of mysteries in the book under wraps until she's ready to spill the tea. How did Brody die? Why does Liz have so much guilt over his death? Does Brody have an alternate reason for being on this side? Silva takes her time giving you these answers, and it's not over- or under-done. It's perfect delivery.

It should be noted The Wild Dark is the first book in "The Wild Oblivion" series, but rest assured the ending does not leave you hanging. Yes, there are unanswered questions that will (hopefully) be addressed in future sequels, but as it stands now, you can read it and be satisfied without continuing. But I assure you, if you enjoy The Wild Dark, you're going to be ready to dive right into its sequel, The Wild Fall. I haven't done so yet, but I have already purchased it (as well as two short stories set in the same universe) and it's ready to go.

If you're looking for a new, fresh voice and apocalyptic tales are your jam, you can't go wrong with Katherine Silva's The Wild Dark. You're not going to look at those dark forests the same again.


Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.

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Steve Pattee
US Editor, Admin
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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