Joe Powers is a Canadian horror writer who lives in New Brunswick, and Terror in High Water is his first full-length novel. It is a twist on the typical western novel where a bad bunch of hombres ride into a town, terrorizing it until the Marshall arrives with his deputies and cleans up the town. Sound familiar? It’s been the fare of western books and movies throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Well, what if the hombres were immortal beings from another dimension, say Hell (or the traditional depiction of Hell, anyway)? This is what Mr. Powers offers up to the small remote Texas town of High Water, which lies close to the Mexican border. It consists of the typical businesses of the time, Hotel/Saloon, Blacksmith, Grocers, Hardware store, etc. The main business is cattle farming, and this is what likely draws “The Man” and his five gang members, a huge man named Agamemnon, and four others he calls his “Hell Hounds”. After brutally killing the Sherrif and a few other early opposers, The Man and his posse take over High Water’s hotel and demand that two head of cattle be brought in each day to feed his Hell Hounds (don’t ask, you have to find out for yourself).One man who does stand up to The Man is the priest who knows of a monster hunter that is capable of killing creatures like The Man and his associates. This irritates The Man for he knows the existence of such a being is true but thinks he is secure in this Texas backwater town. However, this monster hunter, Samuel Heilig lives just over the Mexican border, in retirement. He is the town’s sole hope for relief. However, he is unwilling to come out of retirement, thinking he is too old to be battling monsters.
Heilig rose the following morning, got dressed, and put the kettle on to boil. He ate breakfast and sipped his coffee, and when he was done, he went outside to sit in the shade and escape the growing heat of the day. He found a comfortable spot and withdrew the bullet casing that Henry had given him from his breast pocket. He turned the shiny artifact over between his fingers, and as he examined the fine details, his mind drifted back through time to the day he’d dropped it.
He thought about the old world and the foul creatures that walked the earth. He recalled some of his encounters, times he’d stared into the face of evil and come out on top. So many people had no idea what may lurk in the shadows at any time, mere steps away. If they only knew, he mused, nobody would ever leave their homes.
You might be able to guess what Heilig’s decision is, but the ending may not be as easy to guess. Terror in High Water gets top marks for a low F-bomb count, no sex and a good plot. However, there are many ways to die, as the reader will soon discover.
“As the reader is taken on the suspenseful journey you can picture the town, its citizens and the anxiety their new stranger has created. Joe Powers has made you see and feel the emotions that is featured on each page. The effect of this is a sure page turner as doubt is in your mind on how this may end.” – Fred E-Scene Review
Terror in High Water by Joe Powers
World Castle Publishing
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