SEARCH FOR THE BEAST
By Derrick Ferguson
Based on the screenplay by Rick Montana
Pro Se Press
169 pages

This is a book we’ve been most anxious to get our hands on for multiple reasons. So here’s a question for all of you. What do you get when you adapt an hour long B horror movie into a full length novel? Well, if the writer chosen to do the novelization is competent, you’ll most likely get an okay prose version of the flick. Whereas if your writer is one of the finest, most capable authors in New Pulp today, what you’ll end up with is something a whole lot more intense, suspenseful and exciting than the actual source material.

Now as to that latter, we have not seen writer/director Rick Montana’s little movie and are solely referring to the extremely negative comments on its Amazon page. Ouch. We don’t generally mind B movies, but those with a modicum of fun attached to them. Now back to book review.

One of the first things Ferguson does is shifts the tale’s setting from the backwoods of Alabama to the northwest Florida swamps, which is a much more logical setting if the entire theme of your narrative centers around the hunt for a bigfoot type creature called the Beast. The protagonist is a former Army Ranger turned archeologist named David Stone who is quite familiar with both the Beast and his Okaloosa wilderness habitat. When the son of the area’s richest men goes missing along with his girlfriend, the father hires Stone to go and find him. He also sends along a squad of ex-military mercenaries led by one Jim Steele. Stone is rightly suspicious of Steele and his team, sensing early on that their agendas are not the same. Unfortunately Stone has made the mistake of bringing along an undergraduate student, Wendy, and he soon fears he has not only endangered his own life but hers as well.

No sooner does the group get settled into their bivouac camp, then the Beast appears and savagely murders one of Steele’s men. At the same time another group of mysterious hunters materializes and Steele is convinced they are chasing after the same illegal cache he has been hired to find and destroy. All the while Dr. Stone and Wendy are caught up in the crossfire doing their best to survive both the human killers and the supernatural Beast.

Ferguson imbues what is a fairly standard plot with so much verve and energy, this reviewer became totally caught up in the tale; willingly forgetting how outlandish the plot is. He is a masterful writer and gives these characters tons more depth and substance than any B movie could ever offer. Maybe some night we’ll get to see the film on cable, till then, we’re in no hurry to do so. Having read the book, we’re pretty sure we came out ahead on this one.

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