In an effort to try and read something a little different to my usual choice of zombie horror and/or post-apocalyptica, I picked up Inferno: Go to Hell, a 2012 short story by Scott Reeves.
Amazon provided the following synopsis:
“”The seal must not be broken. What’s inside must not get out.”
The 10th century A.D.
Fanatical Christians rebelling against the Pope dig deep into the Earth in a quest to find Hell. And for a thousand years, they kept on digging.
The present day.
A group of American college students stranded in England descend into an abandoned medieval mine, where they encounter a hellish nightmare world created by the ancient Christian rebels.
Getting in was easy. Getting out will unleash Hell on Earth.”
Parting with my cash, Inferno was bounced straight over to my Kindle and I got to reading this story immediately.
For the genre, Inferno has a fairly standard set-up with the bag of usual suspects as the lead Americans: the handsome quarterback, his bookworm girlfriend, the sarcastic physics student and his attractive girlfriend; who ultimately leads to their hadean plight with her promiscuity and her pandora-esque curiosity…
The author’s style of writing makes Inferno easy enough to read and I found myself able to chew through this short story fairly quickly. Additionally, Inferno conjured up shades of movies that I loved as a child, such as: The Time Machine, Journey to the Center of the Earth and other films of that ilk.
This tale is an adventure/ action story but in my opinion, it wasn’t particularly horrific. Inferno definitely ticks a lot of the boxes with regards horror qualifications: hellish backdrop, infernal creatures, damned souls, nightmarish monsters and so on; but for me, it was a little light on the dread and seemed more fitting reading for perhaps younger fans of the genre. In fairness to the book, I had just finished reading The Eyes of the Dead when I picked up Inferno and that story is crammed with truly brutal horror.
At times through the book, the author’s choice of adjectives bothered me. This may seem like a petty point to raise but describing one character’s breasts as “succulent” was at best, a poor choice and at worst, entirely inappropriate and maybe even a little creepy; and not in the way I expect from a horror yarn.
There’s not much here for gorehounds but will perhaps appeal to those who enjoy sci-fi or even their horror a little tamer than some.
Reeves writes well enough and I think the pace of the book is well-measured. Critically, I had an issue with how easy it was for the American students to initially get into the mine after it had stood sealed for 1000 years and as I said, the author’s descriptions at times were a little irksome but when I set these matters to the side, I enjoyed the book for what it is; a piece of light, pulpy fun.