Prior to this novel, I’d only read a couple of short stories from Jeff Strand. I enjoyed both, so when I came across a couple of his books during a recent book haul trip, I had to pick them up. The cover alone for Mandibles made me chuckle. I plucked this one off the shelf recently when I felt like I needed a strong dose of humor with my horror, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The author wastes no time getting to the action in this story, and for that I was grateful. I was immediately pulled in, and quickly gained interest in many of the characters. I will admit, at first I was a bit nervous about the number of characters introduced, as the writing switched back and forth between different storylines. This never turned out to be an issue for me, as Strand did a great job with pacing and eventually weaving all of the characters’ stories together. The characters in this story are vivid and there’s a great mix of personalities along the way. I found myself rooting for some, while feeling a bit of satisfaction as others met their fate.
The ants are gross and over-the-top at times, and it’s perfect. I’m definitely going to have some images of these creatures that linger long after reading this book. It’s creepy and fast-paced, with witty dialogue and a solid plot that keeps the reader engaged along the way. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as substance, but this story was well-developed and just an overall fun read.
If you like books that read like a B-rate horror film, with a hearty dose of humor and an entertaining storyline, I’d recommend picking this one up. I’ll definitely be seeking out more of Jeff Strand’s work in the future. When the mood strikes for something a bit lighter, this type of book does the trick.