The Forest Bull
by Terry Maggert
Published August 15th 2013 by Createspace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review by Sam Campbell
Three lovers who stalk and kill the immortals that drift through South Florida (tourists are a moveable feast, after all) are living a simple life of leisure - until one of them is nearly killed by a woman who is a new kind of lethal. When Ring Hardigan isn't making sandwiches for, and with, his two partners, Waleska and Risa (they're cool like that), he's got a busy schedule doing the dirty work of sending immortals to the ever after.
Wally and Risa provide linguistics, logistics, and finding the right place for him and his knife-- together, they're a well-oiled machine, and they've settled into a rhythm that bodes ill for the Undying. Warlocks, vampires, succubae and the odd ghoul have all fallen to their teamwork. Life is tough, but they soldier on killing the undead, liberating their worldly goods for charity, and generally achieving very little.
Until Ring wakes up after nearly dying at the hands of a woman who may or may not be the daughter of Satan. Ring's a tough character, for a boat bum (killing immortals sort of rubs off on you that way), but twelve days of comatose healing are enough to bring out the ugly side of his temper. When a letter arrives asking for their help finding a large collection of stolen heirloom jewelry, they form an uneasy friendship with the last Baron of a family hiding in a primal European forest.
Cazimir, the Baron, has two skills: Jeweler and preserver of the last herd of forest bulls. It's an odd occupation, but then, Ring, Risa and Wally aren't your everyday career folks, and Cazimir's lodge might be sitting on something that looks a lot like hell, which, according to a 2400 year old succubus hooker named Delphine, is currently on the market to the strongest immortal. The Baron's impassioned plea to find the jewelry comes with some conditions-- he doesn't want the collection back as much as he does the thief, Elizabeth, who happens to be his daughter-- and the woman who nearly sent Ring to his grave.
In a tapestry of lies, it's up to Ring, Wally and Risa to find out what is evil, who is human, and who really wants to reign over hell.
The Forest Bull follows the story of Ring, an ex-soldier turned immortal slayer and his two lovers and immortal killing team Risa and Wally. Each character has a unique back story and their relationship is good, although not thoroughly explained, but this isn’t a problem. A guy who has two beautiful lovers and they all seek out and destroy monsters, what can be better right? Not much in my opinion.
The basic idea to the story is entertaining but the book is more than that. It is a well written story with a fictional world that is built up throughout the story. Using flash back chapters and case files was a nice touch to add to the flow of the story. We follow Ring, Risa and Wally as they are hired by the mysterious Baron who has a certain issue with his immortal daughter… Not to spoil any of the twists in the story, that is all I shall say.
Terry Maggert creates some exciting and unique villains. The immortals are varying and I applaud his creativity. Vamps, ghouls and a manner of ex-human creatures that will make you squirm with discomfort. My only issue is that I would like to have had more of them. The action is good, but separated at points by just a little too much filler.
This book does at times border on erotica, it is well written as to not over step the mark into erotica but it certainly contains adult content. Mild sex and adult language is no problem in my opinion and works well in this book.
Altogether The Forest Bull is highly entertaining and well written. It uses small doses of action, comedy and sex to keep the reader hooked through beautifully crafted fantasy/horror fiction.
Sam Campbell co-authored Red Dust, a series of zombie western short stories. To read more about Sam's work, read The Bookie Monster's review of Red Dust.
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