Written by: Matt Molgaard
Robert R. McCammon has been a favorite author of mine since the day I discovered Bethany’s Sin, a petrifying tale of sadistic women with a motive beyond reason, yet somehow, undeniably believable. McCammon has proven time and again that he ranks amongst the upper echelon of horror authors today, and for me personally, it elevates his work in a matter that exceeds the vast majority of his contemporaries. If you’re looking for a twisted, yet complex mind capable of birthing paralyzing pieces of fiction, Robert is an artist to follow: he fails to fall short in his literary works. It just doesn’t happen.
I haven’t read too many of the man’s short stories, and as followers of http://www.horrornovelreviews.com probably know at this point, I prefer to keep my coverage dedicated to novels. But Lizardman is one of those shorts so engaging that they demand respect, recognition, and of course, a brief review to remind viewers that this is a story worth tracking down. So, here am I once again, covering a short story…
Lizardman works wonders merging fact and fantastical. The Lizardman, while preconceived conclusions may lead you to believe to be a monster of some sort, is actually the polar opposite, a rugged veteran ‘gator hunter hell bent on capturing the local legend, Old Pope: a gator of monstrous proportions who claims the lives of fishermen with the frequency of the full moon. For years Lizardman has scoured the murky waters in search of the prehistoric beast, and on this one, very special, very electric evening, he knows in the marrow of his bones the inevitable encounter between the two lingers in the evening’s fleeting minutes. What he doesn’t know however, is that Old Pope isn’t what he anticipated – not even close – and a showdown between man and something far, far more perplexing teeters on the clocks fading hours.
McCammon brought this tale to life long before Swamp People overtook the History Channel. And, while the silly reality show somehow seems to enhance this story – namely because there’s an awkward draw to the series and yet this very brief tale is about ten times more engaging than the show itself – Lizardman is a piece of fiction that redefines the curiosity of the gator hunter. Furthermore, McCammon outlines a headstrong personality completely determined to fulfill a seemingly ageless goal within mere pages. The story demands complete attention, showcases an almost poetic delivery from McCammon, and delivers a finale that isn’t overtly predictable, but does fit the mold of highly rewarding climaxes. It is, to be as direct as possible, a stunning finale to an already impressive tale.
Reading Lizardman has prompted me to revisit more of McCammon’s novels (the aforementioned Bethany’s Sin, Usher’s Passing, Gone South, Boy’s Life and Baal all rank among his finer works in my personal opinion), so bet your pocketbook you’ll see some more McCammon coverage in the very near future. Get a taste of this man’s talents, and it’s easy to find yourself chomping at the bit for more. I’ll be feeding that irresistible craving before long, of that you can rest assured.
You can read Lizardman for free RIGHT HERE