SAVAGE ISLAND by Brian Moreland [Book Review]

Savage Island by Brian Moreland

by Brian Moreland
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Available in paperback

Four American tourists holidaying in Manila take a yacht out to a deserted, isolated island but this secret tropical paradise is anything but.

A sun-kissed holiday turns into a fight for survival in Brian Moreland’s 144-page novella, SAVAGE ISLAND.

Going abroad and lounging about in the heat is what most people call an ideal vacation – leaving the hustle and bustle of normal life behind for a week or two to totally unwind. This is what Amy has planned for herself and best friend Jasmine. Despite being friends for a long time, the duo have only just rekindled their friendship after Jasmine escaped her abusive marriage; a relationship in which her husband poisoned her mind and turned her against everyone she held dear. Travelling to the Philippines to visit Jasmine’s homeland seems like a good idea to relax, recoup and start a fresh chapter. They have every intention of just having a girly time lounging by the pool, but when two handsome gents, Dom and Ted, buy them drinks and begin the charm offensive, Jasmine can’t resist. After all, it’s about time she was spoilt after being in such a loveless marriage, and what harm can a little bit of flirting and holiday fun do? After being invited out on their yacht for a bit of location spotting, they anchor down at a tropical paradise boasting crystal waters and a crisp, sandy beach. A picturesque island all to themselves… or is it?

Author Brian Moreland has crafted a story that pulls you into its living, breathing world as he turns what most people would imagine is a dream holiday into a living nightmare. Early on, Moreland puts the reader at ease as you imagine relaxing in the sun as the main characters, Amy and Jasmine, but it doesn’t take long for questions and doubts to start creeping in as the tension steadily rises. The horror element rears its head in a number of ways, rather than just focusing purely on one source. Even when one aspect seems handled, your senses have to be on high alert as threats are coming from multiple directions. This approach certainly keeps you on your toes with every page turn.

Moreland’s descriptive observations meant I could easily envisage every part of the story, like a movie playing in my mind, as the four discover the island isn’t all sun, sea and sand. Even when the characters are dealing with the horrors that await, you can’t deny the beauty of the island they find themselves in. This is how it deceives you. When you begin to fully realise the problems the characters are facing after being hypnotised by the sandy beaches and clear waters, it’s too late. The fight is on!

SAVAGE ISLAND is a relentless tale of survival that isn’t afraid to up the ante even when you think it couldn’t get any worse for the characters. Its pace and momentum keeps the energy high, delivering the kick at the right moment to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Tension builds wonderfully when needed but Moreland isn’t afraid to take you by surprise either.

A fantastic horror thriller read for anyone who’s into stories of a paradise gone wrong – one that may make you think twice about visiting those hidden beaches!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

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About Bat 4344 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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