Cataclysm | TehBen’s Book Club

Blurb as written by the author, review to follow after cover image.

Drake Ackley – Death

They call us the men who will drive the world to its knees.
The Four Horsemen.
A pity for them really.
Prescott, West, Francis and I are done with our masks of civility.
Gods who turned on their subjects.

When you unleash death, nothing can withstand it. Everything perishes in the wake of the executioner. The only things left to show for it are ash and dust.

We had allowed our enemies to take from us for far too long. The tables had finally turned. Our woman had arrived to usher in the end.

Scarlett was the catalyst. The fuse.
The match was burning. Time was running out.
And we were about to bring war to the man who stole her from us all those years ago.

Cataclysm by Sarah Bailey is the grand finale of the now notorious Horsemen dark romance novel series. The boys that confuse NDA’s with blood oaths and blood orgies with date nights are back with us for one more go ‘round to wrap things up in The Horsemen series, and we already know we’re going out with a bang. After Scarlett was thrust into danger at the end of book three, we get Sarah Bailey’s patented brand of quick and satisfying payoff, keeping the cliffhanger anxiety to a minimum. At long last a specific antagonist from the series finally makes a compelling case for the hatred he’s receiving from the protagonists, and the tone for the novel is set from the word go. It’s another lengthy novel that’s worth the journey, but it’s amazing what little time is actually covered in book four. Each moment is savored and cherished by the story itself, and of course by the characters.

As promised and predicted, torture porn is on the menu once again for most of the duration. Porn is even more of the operative word as the sex and violence are closer than ever before. If that’s your thing, then Happy Christmas to ye, you’re gonna love it. It’s a brilliant allegory from a literature standpoint…that plus hardcore doin’ it equals a very powerful scene at the start, which presses the accelerator even more as we proceed.

One of Scarlett’s most basic fantasies is one that many of the readers will share; a dashing man that murders savagely to protect her. In Cataclysm this comes to life in hyper realism at one particular moment in the novel. I found humor in a scene where Drake killed three would-be tough guys as Scarlett watched in amazement. A feeling that soon turned to whining as she was required to assist in the cleanup. She was cooking cream gravy in her knickers when her boyfriend slits throats in her honor, but god forbid she help with the wet wipes afterward!

If anything, they’re out there looking for trouble. The thrill of the kill is a finite commodity, and these characters know deep down that once this is over and done their killing days are behind them. Better to kill as much as you can before it’s all over right? These sick fucks are just twisted enough to think it, and it’s busted elastic waistbands and a call for fresh undergarments all ‘round in between the brutal slaughters. At least this time most everyone objectively deserves some version of their fate, a welcome change from some of the seen and referenced violence of this group’s history.

For this final novel there’s a big sense of the old film “The Dirty Dozen,” with bad people killing badder people for what is certainly the greater good. Moreover the “storming the castle” scenes are pure explorations of revenge sadism which are visceral and satisfying to those that seek it out. We were equal parts warned and promised this, so nothing is inappropriate from that standpoint, but it’s still tough to read if you’re not neck deep in the fantasy. The catharsis is undeniable but lord all mighty we’re getting nasty. At the end of it all it goes from the violent to absurd, to a point where I frankly have to question the reliability of the narrator(s). It’s good and powerful text and imagery, but I can’t help but think I’m being fed a line of bullshit from the characters telling me their story.

Perhaps I’m cut from a different cloth, but I never could understand the wanton manual slaughter that this story’s climax entails. A 12 gauge and a box of shells seems more dignified somehow, but that’s just me. For those that enjoyed the novels of this series to this point, and despite my complaints I really do enjoy the writing, this finale is all that was promised and more, and your page turning finger will no doubt be sore when things get heated. We get the happy ending, despite the human cost, and no emotion is spared for the satisfying conclusion. For now I say farewell to the Horsemen and their firebrand lover Scarlett. It’s been an education, and I wish you five the very best.

Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advanced review copy to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Purchase link: Amazon

Author’s Twitter: @sbaleyauthor

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