I recently had the pleasure to read and review the newest book from Canadian author, C.D. Gallant-King, a writer whose take on horror, sci-fi, and humor (all rolled into one) now has me keenly interested in checking out his prior publications. He is, without a doubt, a geek after my own heart, and it shines through in his writing.
Gale Harbour Book One
“Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space” is the first entry in what is set to be the “Gale Harbour” series, named for the fictional Newfoundland town in which our story takes place. I say ‘fictional’, but Gallant-King describes the town in such a way as to bring quite a clear picture to the reader’s mind. Growing up in an Atlantic Canadian town myself, I found it quite easy to imagine Gale Harbour as a real place, which gave a sense of realism to the quite extraordinary, out-of-this-world story that takes place there.
The story is also set in the early 1990’s, and Gallant-King does an excellent job of regularly reminding us of this fact. Reference to early 90’s video games, movies, and pop culture are woven into the plot, as well as accurate portrayals of everyday life in that decade (e.g. video rental stores are still a thing, and none of the characters own a cell phone).
Jumping Between Generations
If asked who the main protagonist of “Psycho Hose-Beast” is, I would be tempted to choose 12-year-old Niall, but the narrative moves regularly between multiple different characters as necessary to create the type of story Gallant-King is trying to tell. In one chapter we will follow Niall, his best friend Pius, and Pius’s cousin Harper, while in the next we will be focused on Harper’s ‘game and fisheries ranger’ father, or local police sergeant, Tanguay. The jumps work well to allow sharing information with the reader as required to progress the story, and are done in a way that isn’t jarring or annoying.
What is particularly nice, however, is how well Gallant-King portrays the different age groups involved. The adults feel like adults, with grown-up concerns, more rational minds (sometimes to a fault), and the need to be responsible and logical. The children, on the other hand, feel like children. They are all written in a way that truly resembles the way I remember kinds of that age acting. Each of the five child characters also have distinct personalities that a very well-written and bring a ton of life (and laughs) to the story.
So, okay, I’m sure you’re thinking what’s with the title? Well, the central plot of the story revolves around an ancient creature – something like an elder god, if you like – that was sealed away by clever humans thousands of years prior and is, not to put too fine a point on it, rather pissed off about it. The creature managed to break free of its prison approximately 63 years prior to the events of the book, but was temporarily re-trapped by a pair of enterprising witches. Now it is free again and is on the hunt, not only to heal and strengthen itself, but because it desires the eradication of humanity for daring to trap it in the first place.
And to answer your (admittedly reasonable) question, ‘psycho hose-beast’ is the name given to the creature by one of the children, Harper, who is by far the bravest and most level-headed of the child characters. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Save the Harbour, Save the World
“Psycho Hose-Beast” follows this random assortment of child and adult characters as they work to stay alive and defeat this horrible creature, who has already taken several lives in their quiet harbour town. The story tows the line between humorous and dramatic, not shying away from the concept of death but also working in some wonderfully ridiculous moments, including one in which Snow’s “Informer” makes a surprise appearance. The titular beast is creepy, disturbing, and most definitely evil, while the human characters are all likeable, even the ones who kinda-sorta make you want to toss them to the beast. There are lots of twists and turns, well-loved tropes, and bits of information fed slowly that come back to make sense later on. Parts of the story also set up ideas about where the rest of the series might lead, such as the secret army tunnels running all throughout the ground beneath the town.
The story is not dragged out by pointless fluff, could easily be devoured in a sitting or two if you were so inclined, and has a good pace that keeps you wanting to keep going right to the end. And speaking of which, the ending is, in my personal opinion, quite satisfying in a number of ways. It could easily all end right here and I would be quite pleased, but at the same time the inevitable sequel has been set up well enough that I’m definitely looking forward to seeing ‘Gale Harbour Book Two’ in the future!
My personal favorite thing about the entire book, however, is the children and their dynamics between one another. From the bookish weakling, to the weirdo kid who never stops talking, each of the children feel so much like real kids that could have been a part of any of our childhoods that it gives that much more gravitas to the story. You genuinely want to see these kids survive and succeed, even (or possibly especially) when they’re being morons, because they’re so relatable.
If asked, I would rate “Psycho Hose-Beast” as either a Teen or Young Adult novel, but there is also nothing in it that would stop me allowing my own pre-teen to give it a read. I’m quite certain she would love it for its horrific humor and young heroes.
“Psycho Hose-Beast From Outer Space” is definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of the horror-comedy aesthetic of something like “Stranger Things”. The characters are likeable and relatable, the setting realistic and familiar, and the monster the kind of weird, illogical, disgusting beast that you might find in anything from a b-rated horror movie to a modern-day sci-fi flick. This is a fun, enjoyable, easy-to-read romp, and I can’t wait to find out where Gallant-King goes with the rest of the series!
Pick it up for yourself right here on Amazon, and feel free to come back and let me know what you thought!