'Paradise Club' is a tropical vacation of the worst kind
Not all horror novels has to be a deep, dark character driven story of dread and woe full of tension and suspense. Sometimes copious amounts of bloody and creative violence are perfectly fine and a fun read.
All I ask is that the author gives you enough character development of the main characters that you care enough if they die or not.
“Paradise Club,” by Tim Meyer does that perfectly. You care enough about the main characters who you hope nothing happens to them and surrounds them with buckets of bloody body parts from some truly unique kills.
The story’s main protagonist is Elliot Harper – an FBI agent who has suffered some extreme trauma – and his family, a wife and teenage daughter and son. They won a trip to the Paradise Club, an all-expenses paid trip to a tropical island. They are just some of the hundreds of winners who are ferried to the island.
Everything isn’t as glorious as it seems. Elliot becomes a little suspicious when everyone has to surrender all phones and other communication devices or they’re not allowed to stay on the island. And then Elliot sees something he shouldn’t have.
What follows is a “The Purge” type of situation but on steroids. Killers are unleashed and all of the vacationers and employees are their targets. The only goal is to somehow survive. If one person survives and all of the killers and other guests are killed, they get let go and paid a life-changing amount of money.
This is not a slow burn. The violence starts relatively quickly, and it’s bloody and graphic. The killers wear a variety of costumes and use a variety of weapons. No one is safe – men, women and even children are dismembered, stabbed and mutilated. It’s graphic, but all in good fun!
You’d think this is just a form of verbal gore porn, but it really isn’t. Meyer writes the story well, and develops the characters enough that you actually care about them – giving them emotions and backgrounds.
The reason for the extreme blood-letting is interesting and kind of unexpected, which was good.
I also like the whole idea of this book. Meyer originally wrote it as kind of a crowd-sourced serialized story on his old Patreon. He would post a poll with several choices to see what direction his readers wanted to take with the story and I find that very cool.
“Paradise Club” is not for the squeamish, but if you’re not someone turned off by extreme violence, this is definitely a book you should read.
Tim Meyer Grindhouse Press (2021) 278 pages Buy it here