The Hand That Feeds by Michael Garza

The Hand That Feeds
by Michael W. Garza
Published by Severed Press, 08/29/2103
213 Pages

Review by Shana Festa A.K.A. The Bookie Monster

How far will a parent go to keep their child alive? John and Angela Mason’s lives are brought to a tormenting halt when their ten year old son is reduced to a lifeless shell. John watches his wife slip into madness as his son rises from the dead. He realizes they must escape the terrifying infection in order to survive but how can he choose between the insanity consuming his wife and the undying hunger of his son. An appetite for death will come in one form or another and it will be left to John to decide on the hand that feeds.

A parents love, and sanity, is put to the ultimate test in The Hand That Feeds. Michael Garza has delivered us one heck of a dark, mind-bending horror read. While the cause of the illness remains a mystery, the events that follow are well laid out for readers. Alex, ten year old son of John and Angela, contracts the zombie infection. Driven only by the need to provide for their child, The Mason's do the unthinkable. They sacrifice the living so that their son may continue to exist.

They thought they could contain it...they were wrong. Unknowingly, The Masons unleash hell on their town. Bodies of the unsuspecting souls, lured into their home under false pretenses, begin to rise and infect others.

I had difficulty reconciling the main character John. In that I mean it was difficult for me to root for a protagonist that was as much victim as he was villain. Struggling to survive in an outbreak, his main driving force remains to maintain the well-being of his family unit. Fueled by a mentally unstable wife, John is forced to commit unthinkable crimes upon his fellow man.

The major theme of The Hand That Feeds is one mans inner struggle between doing what's right and doing what he thinks is best for his family. Unlike most books that I read, I did not read this one fast. I couldn't, because it kept making me sick with what one man was capable of. A great book is one that makes you think, and man did I think on this book a lot! The human psyche is a fragile thing. So what happens when the one thing you love most in this world is no more? Denial, people! Denial can be a powerful beast all on its own, and can lead to our ultimate undoing.

Garza's work appeals to many readers. If you enjoy zombies, apocalyptic tales, horror, or psychological thrillers, then this book is for you.

I won't delude you into thinking this story has a happy ending. But for me, it had the ending I so desperately hoped for. I found myself intensely disliking the main characters, not for lack of writing talent, but because Garza has written them so well into disgusting people. The Hand That Feeds brings us a fresh perspective on a predictable genre. Scary in a less traditional fashion, it is not for those with a weak stomach. I challenge readers to pop some Tums and get to reading. This book will leave you feeling...uncomfortable.

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