Below Economic Thresholds
Adam Hulse’s latest offering is the culmination of all of his previous work’s hard-won lessons – this is Adam flexing his writing chops and doing what he does best – Horror action. There are more strings to Adam’s bow, but that subgenre is where he lives and shines, and this is no exception. Below Economic Thresholds expands his own skills in story construction, pace, and world-building.
The novella reminded me, in concept, of the groundbreaking film Blade runner – the concept of a gun for hire sent in to round up robots, here replaced by an ex-soldier for hire sent in to dispatch demons. Instead of a rich Tokyo-esque skyscraper background, we have instead a run-down improvised British high-rise tower landscape. Almost a comment and criticism of England Post Brexit. There are Social commentaries to be found here regarding mismanagement of resources, power plays, and the horrors of war, which might simply be elements Hulse brought in to rush the story along in its break-neck speed dash to the end, or it might be something deeper, reflections of opinions on the ongoing war in Ukraine, Tory leadership in Great Britain, and a problem brought by a government onto its own people (Demons a metaphorical translation of the fallout from Brexit).
I took it as a piece of escapism. I can see the metaphors, but I just wanted to be entertained, which Adam did with his usual flare.
There are attempts at fleshing the characters out through character building, but there’s little time for it all, the action is relentless, the rage of the character against his controllers and the right of the masses to rise up against tyranny is the thrust of the story here, and anything missing through that demand for speed falls to the wayside, but isn’t really missed – your emotions are covered. There’s vitriol enough through betrayal, the violence is well rendered and abrupt, the gore kept clean and to the point, and self-sacrifice and revenge take center stage.
Hulse concentrates on the visuals of his novel – whilst the motives and abilities of the demons could be called into question, it's really not the point. We’re more interested in the impact they have on the MC and his struggle to survive. And frankly, they aren't the point of the novel, which is that human monsters are even more despicable and worthy of our attention. The bad guys are painted with a broad brush, you aren’t going to find nuances of motivation or character driving their despicable actions – they are there to be hated, and hate them you will.
This is good, clean, horror fun. It’s a flash into another world full of horrors and demons and honest people trying to survive as best they can according to rules which are weighed heavily against them.
5 out of 5 ⭐'s. Go into this book and expect to be entertained. There are life lessons there if that’s your thing, but it’s screen candy for Action-Horror readers, and we all need a bit of Hulse in our lives regularly.
You can pre-order Below Economic Thresholds, by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link below:
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