Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bottom Feeders by John Shepphird

John Shepphird's debut novel, Bottom Feeders, is for those readers who enjoyed Gina Wohlsdorf's Security. It's a violent, gory novel that reads as if it were a screenplay for a horror movie. Who is targeting the cast and crew of a small budget Western?

Eddie Lyons is an out-of-work TV director who jumps at the chance to be part of a quick turnaround, made-for-cable film. Sheila, hired as the assistant cameraperson, cynically recognizes that everyone involved with the production, including herself, is a bottom feeder. "The crews working these flat-rate, take-it-or-leave-it indie quickies made up what she referred to as the bottom feeders of the industry." They all needed jobs. She needed the money to scrape together a rental deposit after she found her roommate in bed with her boyfriend when Sheila returned home after her mother died.

And, no one was easy to work with. The producer was cheap. Sheila had slept with Eddie, and regretted it, after the last movie. One of the animal handlers wanted to use his snakes on the job. The star brought her own team of stylists, and picked the actor to star as the villain. Everyone was there with an agenda.

But, someone has a larger agenda. The first murder had nothing to do with the movie, but when someone hits the camera truck with a metal-tipped arrow, the local sheriff's deputy recognizes the method. And, deaths quickly escalate. If the killer can't hit the victim with an arrow, a slit throat will do. Or, the set can be burned out to make the targets flee right into the killer's trap.

The violence escalates in Bottom Feeders until the reader realizes almost the entire dislikable cast will be wiped out. It's reminiscent of the horror movies in which the players should be warned not to step out of the trailer, or don't separate from the others. Too late! Someone is going to die.

I had problems with the book, other than the unlikable characters. The solution wasn't very credible. I questioned one of the author's pet phrases used for describing a character, but if I mention it, I could reveal the killer. But, I'm not a fan of slasher films. Those readers who enjoy that kind of book and movie may enjoy Bottom Feeders.

John Shepphird's website is

Bottom Feeders by John Shepphird. Blackstone Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781538469200 (paperback), 238p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


SandyG265 said...

Thanks for the review. I’ll pass on this one.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Interesting. The premise actually sounded promising, but the execution, not so much. It sounds like the kind of thing I might have read 30 or 40 years ago. Now I'll pass.

Lesa said...

It's not for everyone. But, I still review the book because someone other than me may be interested. But, I don't blame either of you, Sandy and Jeff, for passing.

Glen Davis said...

Sounds interesting. If I see it, I may give it a look-see.

Lesa said...

Let me know if you want my copy, Glen. I can send it on.

Glen Davis said...

Sure! I'll give it a shot. I'm always up for something new.