William M.'s Reviews > Empire of Salt

Empire of Salt by Weston Ochse
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's review
Jun 29, 2011

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bookshelves: horror


I have mixed feelings on this book. It reads very strangely, from the characters, to the setting, to the delivery. One of the main characters, Patrick, is a widowed father of two. He drives to a new town where he has inherited a house and business from his estranged father. Patrick spends the first third of the book drunk and sitting on a stool in his restaurant while his two nearly grown up children wander around the town witnessing a group of people, lead by a Romanian freedom fighter turned Elvis Impersonator, fire shotguns around the neighborhood. All of this happening while the locals act like this is an everyday occurrence. People actions were so odd that I felt as if this were taking place in some alternate universe.

Certain scenes were awkwardly described and varied greatly in its page count, which only added to the inconsistent reading experience. While some scenes were short and moved by very quickly, others felt overly long and seemed to go on well past their welcome. Although many of the characters were obviously scared of the encroaching danger, the matter-of-fact descriptions and lackluster atmosphere fell flat, leaving me feeling ambiguous and not scared of anything I was reading. The standard story of a government-experiment-gone-wrong was also disappointing. I also spotted a number of continuity errors and typos.

Now, I don't want to seem too hard on this book, because there were some rather enjoyable moments and the last third of the book really seemed to pick up the action along with the surprising deaths of some main characters. But with Ochse's solid reputation, the amazing track record of Abaddon Books, and one of the best zombie covers I've seen in a long time, I expected a lot more here.

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