Werewolves and vampires are the gruesome monsters of some of our favorite scary stories but in Brian E. Niskala’s Rhinehoth they are even more spontaneous and creepy. Rhinehoth is aptly titled for it’s the name of the prison where our main character Simon is sentenced to go after a botched jewel heist. This prison is, however, not your average Alcatraz by any means. The prison of Rhinehoth is dark, scary, foreboding, and is hiding a deep and dark secret from ages past. As I delved into this novel my interest was piqued by the eerie events and gruesome atmosphere.
Although I stumbled at first with some issues of grammar, I am a picky reader, I was soon able to get past this to the nitty gritty of the story. As I read on I found myself wandering the halls of Rhinehoth in my mind following closely in the footsteps of Simon. Although I picked up on some small clues as to the mysteries of the castle I was still surprised with the way the story came full circle unto itself.
The past and present become intertwined as the story progresses and we see that there is much more to the characters than meets the eye.
Simon, the lead character, is a man without real purpose that gets himself in over his head with a jewel heist and inevitably gets sent to the towering prison that is Rhinehoth. While in prison Simon becomes acquainted with some fellow inmates the first of which is Siegfried who is a large looming fellow with strength that Simon has never seen before.
He also befriends a smaller meeker inmate by the name of Mouse who lives up to his name. Aside from inmates Simon becomes closely acquainted with Dr. Maxine Huelen, daughter of the prison’s Kommandant Adolf, who’s eerily blue eyes enchant Simon. We meet several other prisoners and one very mean and brutal guard by the name of Klaus who takes pleasure in picking on and beating the prisoners.
The vampires that we encounter are not your average “Twilight” sparkly-skinned tweens but something darker and more violent. I was impressed with the sheer power of these creatures who are finally more equipped to face off with their werewolf peers. The werewolves are of course powerful as well but, as in most stories, they are spontaneous in their brutality and less apt to think through their actions. The ultimate battle becomes apparent within the story as it is a war that has been waged throughout the ages.
Brian E. Niskala, who also writes for HorrorNews, takes us on a dark and suspenseful ride within the pages of Rhinehoth. There is so much to say about this novel but it’s hard to keep from giving anything away. I will say that the gore got better and better as I read along and I found myself picturing the horrors that Simon came face to face with. We also learn that no one ever leaves Rhinehoth so we are left to wonder what exactly becomes of those who serve out there sentence. Eventually we find out what becomes of these prisoners but I will not spoil that for you.
Whether you enjoy a good story about monsters or like guts and gore you are not let down with this novel. I enjoyed the story itself and the development of each of our characters as they were indeed complex and dynamic. Castle Rhinehoth was a perfectly spooky backdrop to the story and the history of it made it all that much more foreboding. I would definitely recommend that anyone interested in vampires, werewolves, or anything creepy and macabre for that matter pick up this novel and check it out.
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