August 1, 2009

Book Review: "Hunted Past Reason" by Richard Matheson

Title: Hunted Past Reason
Author: Richard Matheson
Publisher: Forge (Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Published: July 2002
Pages: 294
Genre: Horror
ISBN: 0-765-34508-0

Have you ever been camping with someone you don't really like all that much? Are you going camping with that person again, anytime soon? Maybe you'll want to skip this book until you get back ... assuming you do.

Allergies not withstanding, I love the outdoors. And plunking myself out at the ol' cabin, away from civilization, is a contenting time. Bugs be damned. I've had the good fortune to share my time in the middle of nowhere with people I actually consider friends, or at least find agreeable. So, I really sympathized with screenwriter Bob's plight as he's led into the middle of the California wilderness by Doug, an arrogant actor acquaintance, for the sake of research.

Bob doesn't have a clue what he's doing, trying to spend a weekend hiking through the terrain to get to a remote cabin. And having a braggart of an outdoors man like Doug leading the way isn't doing him any favors. Bob's a purebred city boy. Doug could be classified as the same, but he's also one of those insufferable dicks who revel in conquering things--wilderness included.

The hike goes as well as can be expected for a while, but with every passing hour on what should be a two-day trek, nerves are worn and civility deteriorates. Things might turn around and they'll get along, or the shit will hit the fan and the two will become locked in a struggle between life and death. Place your bets.

For poor ol' Bob, he's not sure what's going to kill him first: the hiking, the wildlife, or Doug.

Compared to a masterpiece like Matheson's novella, I Am Legend, this story doesn't exactly measure up. I liked it, though. The setting is fantastic, and Matheson really brings it all to lush, green life. The remoteness is captured very well, and I only thank the stars my times in the woods have been exceedingly pleasant.

There are other titles from Matheson we should all read first (I'm currently reading Hell House), but I don't think any horror fan should pass up reading this one, if given the chance.


  1. I'm so glad I found you and your blog. I am always reading horror and never know what books to try next. It's really good having somebody like yourself reviewing novels and giving me lots of ideas what to try next.

    We often go camping in the New Forest. I love it...creeping crawlies and all!

  2. Since you're on a Matheson kick: Have you read "The Shrinking Man"? Great stuff, much better than the admittedly hokey film.

  3. Most of my camping-with-people-I-don't-like happened when I was younger, and it was usually with siblings of my brothers' friends (and thus not under my control). I can't imagine going camping now with non-friends. It's enough that you're taking all that time and energy to get to the should enjoy it (and the people around you) when you get there!

    Not sure I'd be able to sleep in a tent again if I read this, so I'll take your word that it's good.

  4. That;s some good honest well written review- well, enough to awaken the curiosity to check some of them soon.


  5. Akasha - Yeah, I'm always scouring blogs and podcasts to see what else is out there for horror novels and dark literature. For podcasts, if you're interested, I've been listening to a few shows from Dread Media and Pod of Horror, which have some very good reviews and discussions as well.

    Adam - Haven't read "Shrinking Man," but I have that and "Stir of Echoes" on my wish list.

    Celia - Sleeping in a tent would probably be fine for you. Sleeping beyond the teases of civilization might sour on you, though.

    Silver - Glad to oblige.