The one thing we learn in life is that our choices can lead us down a multitude of directions. We can choose to take a specific talent and apply it and make a name for ourselves. We can also choose that it would be too hard and have life take us in a different direction. There are times that we may rush to judgment and the results could be disastrous. This would be the case of one Russ Grote who will see his life go in a direction he never expected. He will find himself with an ex-wife, going to prison, a son he never sees and worse stuck working with other ex-convicts.
This is the life he will be leading as someone opens “When the Devil Climbs” by Drake Vaughn. The book opens with Russ having a conversation with his ex-wife and how he is looking so forward with reconnecting with his son. Russ is even able to primarily ignore his coworker, Harley, as he adds some commentary to things going on as they wait for the boss Slake to arrive. Victor, another coworker shows up and the crew of three ex-cons gets their day started as they load up to go change out the billboard on a large road sign.
The reader will come to understand that this is one of the few jobs that are willing to hire ex-cons. As you get an introduction into each character you may be very thankful they don’t work with you. On the hand you may even know someone who acts like any of these “fine” gentlemen. Russ is at least working on some of his demons as he has gotten help and the others, well. To give you an idea on the others Slake is one quick to action and will find quick to anger as he is the boss of this crew. Harley he is an old timer with no sort of political correctness and enjoys tormenting the new guy on the team, Victor. As the new guy, Victor, will get razzed but he is also Hispanic and there are plenty of off color jokes directed his way by the ignorant Harley. It will surely make for an interesting work crew and for an eye opening day.
The problem for these men is they have come to fight the law and there decision will haunt them for the remainder of their lives. As they come across a police cruiser and are told to turn they are given an option from life. They could listen or try some stupid stunt. The choice, you may have guessed it, is stupid stunt and they drive around the cruiser to head to their job. It is not long after this when ominous dust clouds in the dry ground show in the distance and trouble is coming and these four men are going to find out man is not always the key of the food chain. They will learn that even they can become a great meal for something man feasts on around the world.
When the Devil Climbs will really jump into action at this point in the book. The men will see the dust storm and realize it is actually a large group of pigs running wild. Harvey, who stays on the ground to watch the trucks, even will try to play with one of the pigs as they get close. He will find out to late that this group has more on its mind then running free as they are hungry and man is now the “other white meat”. It won’t be long from this point when the remaining three high on the billboard platform watch in horror as Harley is devoured by the creatures and they realize they are trapped.
The book will see the three remaining men struggle with each other at first. It will not be long before they run out of water, and food and this will lead to self struggles as the mind becomes their enemy as well. Author Drake Vaughn shows a great gift for delving into the mind and characters of each of these men. Their backgrounds and natures will be slowly revealed as they stay trapped up on that billboard platform hoping, and praying, for some help. What will make matters even worse is when help appears to becoming their arrival; well one must read the book.
The truth is that, When the Devil Climbs, does a great job of character development as well as setting the stage for a very psychological horror story. There are moments when we get to read how the pigs fast but in truth it felt to me much of the horror comes as these men realize the trouble they are in and must determine how to react in the face of this danger. This is why I opened the review by pointing out life choices as each man made a choice that somehow lead to them being there at that moment in time when their lives may end.
I must add that for a great book trailer head over to Drake Vaughn’s website and enjoy.