Task Force Voodoo: Arabian Night by author Richard R Freeman is an interesting little novella about a werewolf who goes on a mission to save a CIA operative. Enjoyable? Yes. Unique? Perhaps. Technically a mess? Definitely. The plot development is spot-on, but Freeman’s punctuation and lack of proper editing reverts the story to just that – a novella with less meat than a vegetarian dinner at Vegans R Us.
Let me say this: I can thoroughly appreciate Freeman’s attempt at creating a weird and wonderful world about real monsters, but it’s been done before. Incessantly. Perhaps not werewolves and crazy scorpion demons, but definitely other iterations of the genre. I want to like it. I did. I enjoyed the witty banter and the specific descriptions.
Unfortunately, Freeman lost the plot literally halfway into the novella. The climax was anti-climactic, the killing scenes felt like an excuse for violence, and the end result was clichèd beyond measure. The novella just didn’t have that meaty exterior which someone like Terry M. West gets marvellously right. If Freeman can go back to his book and perhaps do several rewrites, give the characters more credence, and add a droplet of backstory, I know that Task Force Voodoo: Arabian Night could be a strong contender.
The narrative contaitns a disappointing arc which flatlines as soon as the “big battle” commences. Where’s the fight? Where’s the chutzpah? Where’s the belief that these peculiar characters are actually fighting for their lives? Nowhere. Not in the pages, not in the words, not in the characterisation. Admittedly, the denouement was sublimely pleasing – much like the rest of the novella.
I can liken the experience to eating a Big Mac at McDonalds: you order that juicy piece of processed meat, famished and ferocious, but when it arrives it’s nothing more than a bun with a dead patty inside.
2 out of 5
Reviewed by Renier Palland
Renier started his writing career as a film critic in the early 2000’s. A few years later, he was employed as a Senior Entertainment Writer at one of the biggest entertainment websites on the planet. He worked alongside celebrities, Hollywood agents and entertainment bigwigs for more than seven years. He received an international publishing deal in 2017. His debut splatterpunk trilogy, War Game, is slated for a 200 000-print USA and European release in March of 2018. The official launch will be held at Barnes & Noble in New York City.
Deacon Graham, soldier, sniper, Delta Force operator, werewolf. Turned one bloody night in the Georgia woods he is now the centerpiece of the US Army’s Task Force: Voodoo. It’s mission, protect the world from supernatural threats anytime, anyplace. His latest mission is a solo one for the CIA. One of their deep cover agents has gone missing in Saudi Arabia and assets all over the peninsula are turning up dead. One of them has had all of their bones and muscles sucked out. This falls into Voodoo’s skill set, weird and unexplained.
Deacon travels to The Kingdom to get to the bottom of this mystery. Has the missing agent been turned or tortured? Traitor or patriot? This is his most dangerous mission yet but he is Delta, they make their own luck.