The Hungry Ones by Chris Sorensen
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
*Originally Published in Issue 8, Halloween*
The Nightmare Room was Chris Sorensen’s first installment in the excellent Messy Man saga, and it was and is a superb horror tale. I absolutely loved it and when this follow-up was released it was Kindled faster than you can say “Yeah I’ll go for the super deluxe meal, why the hell not?”
I wouldn’t say that reading The Nightmare Room is essential to enjoying this, but it certainly helps. I have a tendency to forget aspects of books and movies, so jumping into this one I was a little hazy with some of the details of its predecessor. A quick skim read of the first book’s final chapters helped somewhat, although I didn’t pay that much attention; I just wanted to get my teeth stuck into this one (pun intended) as soon as possible.
The Hungry Ones is set in a motel, so a perfect horror novel setting. This place was the scene of a brutal mass shooting two years ago, something locals still remember vividly. Jessie buys the place hoping to turn it into a popular motel again.
But the thing about motels where multiple people have died, is that there’s bound to be ghosts hanging around the place. You know, like they tend to do.
The ghosts aren’t Jessie’s major problem, though. It’s the beasts that are hungry for these spirits. And these beasts are pretty terrifying.
I likened the logic behind the possession angle in the first book to that of Twin Peaks, where spirits inhabit both space and time. The same is prevalent here, too. The writing allows this concept that, on the surface is very confusing, to flow perfectly. You don’t have time to get confused as the action and scares draw you in with no let-up.
A boy manages to time travel to the past where he’s actually a ghost; an alternative version of his dad is trapped with the soul of a demon; ghosts replay their last moments on earth, becoming confused when they realise they’re now dead; a Medium has been having multiple visions of the boy for most of her life as though this meeting has been her destiny.
It all seems, well, mad. But you never get that feeling. I’m struggling to explain it properly so I suppose the only way to understand is to just read the book.
There are plenty of characters from the first book making an appearance which was great and really gave the feeling of it being a sequel. I don’t want to compare the two books, because I see them as one and the same, but also different (ha – just trying to mess with you about the whole time and space thing).
I had such a blast with this. The story flows with action and scene-building, without either seeming to outdo the other. There’s enough moments of comedy and certainly plenty of vividly described horror elements. When bones in a bag transform into grotesque demon mutants, and a guy vapes with pieces of liquified body parts just to keep the hunger at bay, you know you’re onto a winner of a horror story.
Yes, The Hungry Ones certainly delivers (or eats-in), and I can’t wait for the next book.
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666.
His novella, An Army of Skin, short story collection, The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality, and Short Sharp Shocks, The Unbeliever and the Intruder, are available now.