Written by: David Robertson
I expected Hekura to be one of those typical “science-gone-wrong” horror stories where mutants run rampant, creating chaos. As it turns out, Hekura is much more than that. It does have a big, heartless corporation doing terrible things that inevitably get out of hand, but it also has drug dealers, scientists, mercenaries, cancer curing plants, and tribal mythology. The characters are fairly well developed, with their own motivations and backstories. At times they are slightly predictable, but there are enough twists to keep things fresh. Like actual people, the characters sometimes don’t do exactly what you expect.
The author has obviously done a ton of research on the Amazon jungle, where most of the story takes place. He has deftly combined many elements such as the medicinal properties of rainforest plants, legendary tribal spirits, and armed guerilla groups. These are all real things in today’s Amazon forest, but in Hekura the author has woven them seamlessly into the story. The story moves along at a good pace and these elements make the book more full and real without being obvious or clunky. The main story is intertwined with a few subplots. It’s a constant reminder that the characters are each individuals with their own motivations and their own needs. Again, though, the author does a good job of making it all smooth and of keeping the story moving forward. The main story is never confusing and doesn’t get bogged down in tangents. The author gives us enough backstory to flesh out characters, but then we’re right back on track.
Hekura has intrigue, treachery, and corruption. Yes, there are hungry, strange mutant creatures that stalk our main characters through the forest, but Hekura is mostly about people and the choices they make. Good and evil is not black and white, they are shades of grey and each person has to draw their own lines, make their own choices, and deal with their own consequences. For the reader, that’s an interesting process to watch.
Hekura is a story with a lot of levels. The writer does a good job of combining it all into one coherent, fast-moving adventure story. There are a few predictable elements, but there are enough twists and turns to keep readers turning pages. If you’re looking for chilling, disturbing horror, Hekura is not that. It is, however, a fairly fast, easy read that’s well structured and enjoyable.