Demons and werewolves and ghouls, oh my! There’s plenty to keep your imagination busy in Graveslinger (B&N Press), the opening of a new series by writer and artist Darren Compton. Set in the Pacific Northwest, the story revolves around Fiya Pratt Diaz, a professional monster hunter (or a “glorified exterminator” as she puts it), her mentor Rutger Bronson, and Thomas Bradley and his daughter Liama, a father-daughter pair under her protection.

This zombie-esque horror novel takes place in a world similar to ours, just add fearsome magic. Along with a group of others, average dad Thomas Bradley and his daughter Liama are held prisoner by cultists inside an abandoned school. Fiya saves the father-daughter duo and they team up to put down a severe case of Ghoul Fever sweeping Seattle. The trio soon discovers the link between the cult and the growing plague, but even greater evils are lurking unseen.

A CONFLICTED HEROINE UP AGAINST THE ODDS

Part badass, part self-doubter, Fiya is a conflicted and relatable heroine. Her birth parents were killed by said fever, leaving her to be raised by Rutger Bronson, a legendary monster hunter who became her mentor in the craft. Retired now, Bronson is recruited by Fiya when the task she’s faced with becomes too overwhelming for her own considerable talents. Even her association with The Order of Immortuos Venandi, an international organization dedicated to saving mankind from all manner of supernatural evils, is of little help to her now.

Caught between a plague spiraling out of control and pursuit by a pack of determined werewolves sent by the cultists to retrieve Thomas and Liama and defeat Fiya and Bronson, she’s definitely in for the fight of her life. What’s worse, Fiya finds herself in the crosshairs of Violess, a creepy demoness with werewolves, rats and ghouls under her command, seeking to resurrect a terrible and ancient evil. It’s an endless and unnerving game of hide-and-seek through the Pacific Northwest as Violess and her minions wage war against Fiya and her crew.

A FEAST FOR THE MIND’S EYE

On the author’s Facebook page, there is an interesting nugget about the book’s origins. Apparently, the book was originally intended to be a graphic novel and had been scripted out as such in its earliest draft. The novel retains some of the feel of that genre with its punchy dialogue and point-of-view hopping. There is also a keen focus on visual description, so while we aren’t privy to the author’s planned illustrations, there is plenty of “coloring in” going on in the mind’s eye of the reader. 

Packed with plot, action and memorable characters, the novel paves the way for the next installment, The Worm Wraith, already in draft form. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for a ghoulishly good time, Graveslinger is an engaging tale that is part urban fantasy, part mystery, and all horror.

Graveslinger is available for purchase here.

Darren Lee Compton is a writer & illustrator who grew up absorbing 80’s Action and Horror, a lover of monsters and the heroes who hunt them. He grew up in a military family, moving from place to place, surviving a number of bullies, and graduated art school in Washington State. The spark of writing started as far back as middle school, and simmered on the back burner as he focused on art for many years. He now resides in Southern California. When not writing, he can be found illustrating, chugging Dr. Pepper, noodling on guitar, playing tabletop RPG’s, or binging on horror movies.