Michael Patrick Hicks has outdone himself this time. He has concocted a potent, genre-bending cosmic horror tale that’s rich with historical implications. Hicks taps into so many history facets of the American Revolution and its aftermath––it truly is beautiful to behold. He really did his research and it shows through this first installment. He pays respect and honor to the characters and the time period. You even get to learn about the people of the American Revolution and the post-Revolutionary War era. It’s this controversial time period and its intricate shortcomings that sets the stage for Michael Patrick Hicks’ The Resurrectionists.
The story centers around Salem Hawley, a freed man and a Revolutionary War veteran. He finds himself in another war, one far worse than he’s ever seen. The advancement of medicine in New York City is on the brink of its own revolution, and something sinister is fueling it. Doctors have been digging up bodies for their experiments and studies. It’s illegal to procure bodies in that manner, but they do it anyway. Salem Hawley catches wind of what’s going on in the African American cemeteries and steps in to stop the grave robbers. Hawley is plunged into an otherworldly war.
Salem Hawley is the type of character you want in your corner. You feel for him and you don’t want anything bad to happen to him. So, when he plunges into harms way, you root for him to prevail. Hawley is a very complex character with tons of depth. With that being said, I would like to talk about the tentacled monstrosities because they are also important to the story. Michael Patrick Hicks doesn’t over sell the creatures. He describes them using the less is more approach, leaving the reader with some room for imagination. He doesn’t tell us what they look like, he lets us see for ourselves, which is fascinating once you think about it. And it’s all through their actions and we see character growth as the story progresses. Hicks doesn’t reveal everything about his characters all at once. Michael Patrick Hicks also shows respect to POC and underrepresented characters, which makes the reading experience even better.
The scenes, y’all. I can’t get over the scenes in The Resurrectionists. The scenes are bloody brilliant and viciously splendid. The testing and experiments are everything. The cutting of the cadavers was gut-wrenching. My stomach churned with every pass of the scalpel. Whilst reading The Resurrectionists, my body hurt just thinking about what those people were going through. Those doctors were getting a kick out of cutting up people’s bodies. It pissed me off and made me want to beat the mess out of those plague doctors. Turns out, those doctors were up to something far more sinister than anything imaginable. New York City will never be the same.
I’m not that familiar with H.P. Lovecraft‘s work, but The Resurrectionists sure is a great cosmic horror novella. Michael Patrick Hicks does a great job setting the tone for the rest of the novella with that opening scene. And you can tell he meticulously researched the medicine and history in this novella. I can’t put into words how much I loved the monstrosities. I can’t get the plague-masked doctors out of my head. I also recommend reading the author’s notes at the end of the novella. It will give you some perspective on things. I look forward to the next installment in The Salem Hawley Series.
I would like to take a moment to talk about the epic cover designed by Kealan Patrick Burke. The cover captures the mood and the story as a whole. It catches the potential reader’s eye and it looks dope. It helps when a cover artist reads the manuscript before designing the cover. Elderlemon Design is where it’s at. It would look great framed in my office or on my shelf. I’ll definitely be picking up a physical copy for my personal collection.
I’ve read all of Michael Patrick Hicks horror books. He keeps getting better with every publication. MPH has really honed his craft. The sentences are rhythmic and his prose is lyrical. It’s cool seeing an author grow in his craft. Look for big things to come from MPH, he’s on the rise. All of his horror books are one-sitters. You will not want to stop reading. You’ll want to read this one on the john, at the supper table, in the break room, and in the bed. Overall, highest of recommendations!
Having won his emancipation after fighting on the side of the colonies during the American Revolution, Salem Hawley is a free man. Only a handful of years after the end of British rule, Hawley finds himself drawn into a new war unlike anything he has ever seen.
New York City is on the cusp of a new revolution as the science of medicine advances, but procuring bodies for study is still illegal. Bands of resurrectionists are stealing corpses from New York cemeteries, and women of the night are disappearing from the streets, only to meet grisly ends elsewhere.
After a friend’s family is robbed from their graves, Hawley is compelled to fight back against the wave of exhumations plaguing the Black cemetery. Little does he know, the theft of bodies is key to far darker arts being performed by the resurrectionists. If successful, the work of these occultists could spell the end of the fledgling American Experiment… and the world itself.
The Resurrectionists, the first book in the Salem Hawley series, is a novella of historical cosmic horror from the author of Broken Shells and Mass Hysteria.