The Exeter Incident is the title of the new book from David Watkins, one of the UK’s most exciting horror and dark science fiction authors right now.
David Watkins lives in Devon in the UK with his wife, two sons, dog, cat and two turtles. He is unsure of his place in the pecking order: probably somewhere between the cat and the turtles. He has currently released four novels and a short story and this, The Exeter Incident is his most recent release, released via D&T Publishing on the 7th of July, 2022.
We at GBHBL are big fans of David’s work, finding him to be a truly remarkable writer, able to convey vivid imagery through his writings. Check out our reviews of his excellent works, The Devil’s Inn, The Original’s Return and The Original’s Retribution by following the links. You can also check out the review of a collection of short stories that include a David Watkins piece titled The Original, at this link for Leaders of the Pack (A Werewolf Anthology).
A city in the grip of terror.
As a series of gruesome murders are discovered in Exeter, Detective Inspectors Danni Brent and John Carter begin to suspect the killer may not be human. Their investigation is only a few hours old when they also realise the murderer can’t be acting alone. There’s more than one. A lot more.
Paul Kingston is on the run and hiding in Exeter. Whilst trying to secure a new identity, he comes face to face with an impossible monster. Hunted, alone and afraid, who can he turn to? Who can he trust?
None of them know that Exeter is about to experience its darkest day. None of them know time is running out.
The clock is already ticking….
WHO WILL SURVIVE AS THE CITY FALLS?
The Exeter Incident is a fast paced, any by that, I mean relentless, action thriller/horror set in and around Exeter, Devon, UK. It is an ancient city, full of history in the form of churches, a cathedral, roman architecture and has an ant run like maze of tunnels running beneath it. Facts that become the foundation for the adventure we embark on. We meet Charlie Monroe and Dannielle Brent, two detectives visiting a crime scene. A horrific scene at a house where teenagers appeared to be partying until they weren’t and now the house sits silent with stale crisps and stale corpses littering its presence.
As the story cuts back and forth through main characters, we then meet someone called Kennedy. We quickly realise that Kennedy, whoever he is, is in some way responsible. He surveys the crims scene from a distance, mesmerised by the police car lights and mentions his fear that “Father will find out he has eaten again”.
Cut again to Mike Baxter and Linda Carter, hanging out on a roof. They appear to be operating like private detectives/journalists, having caught word of a respected man of the town secretly trafficking people. They lay in wait, camera’s poised to capture the evidence when they are surprised by the appearance of a young, inquisitive child behind them on the roof. As they quietly talk to the child, it becomes clear he isn’t quite right. A fact that becomes more obvious as they see his eyes are black pits with no white.
From the child, a tsunami of chaos erupts, destroying everything nearby as Mike and Linda run. They end up in the presence of Jason, the “respectable people trafficker” and see he is surrounded by corpses too. He is delirious, panicked as he tries to explain that they are under some form of attack and keeps mentioning “they have tails”. Such is the breathless nature of this story that we quickly see exactly what he means as a collective of creatures attack, muscular, vicious and fully tailed. Luckily for Mike and Linda, armed police arrive and see the creatures off, just.
We, at this point, are already fully engaged in The Exeter Incident but have little certainty to what is going in until we cut to the next chapter where we meet Kennedy again. Kennedy has returned to a lair of sorts, is in the presence of the head honcho known as Father and gives us enough dialogue to understand that these creatures are not connected to humans, have been hiding, are preparing to come out of hiding as well as that they are hungry and plentiful.
Father and Kennedy discuss the humans, and whether or not they are a plentiful enough food source but also have some doubts as these weapons the humans carry are dangerous to them. A fact backed up by the dead body of one called Major, taken out by the armed police that rescued Mike and Linda. They plan to scout, to research and prepare for their uprising showing a level of intelligence that doesn’t bode well for humankind.
For now though, we have other lead characters to meet so we head off to John Carter, husband of Linda and police as well before he became more of a social worker for troubled gang youths in London. Linda, being a witness to the carnage, is being taken into custody for questioning and calls John for help. She madly rants about death, gore and tails leaving John, at best, perplexed as he heads off to support her.
Connected to John, being one of said troubled youths, we meet Kingston. A top boy in a gang called Scorpions operating in and around Greenwich, he is planning his way out of the gang. He has money, he is ready to run and disappear but first needs to head to Exeter to collect his new identity. Out of the frying pan into the fire, as he collects his things and realises the Scorpions have hunted him down, when suddenly, chaos ensues and a tidal wave of destruction destroys everything around him, and nearly him too. He looks around and sees a child, a young boy with pitch black eyes smiling. Kingston takes no shit though so fires off a few rounds, hitting the large beings with the boy before making off on his bike at speed.
So we have a sleepy city, multiple murders, alien like kids, a race of vicious and formidable creatures led by Father and a collection of characters spread around the city. For Father’s liking, there are too many witnesses and so Kennedy is dispatched to deal with them along with some additional forces and a child, we know now as one of Father’s direct children as they address him as My Prince. But in some ways, the creatures have still underestimated humanities capabilities with weapons – we can’t feed the hungry but we can blow shit up and so these scouting missions end with little success and some great losses for Father. Something that enrages him greatly leading to him to stop the softly approach and declare war.
The horde are hungry, Exeter is their hunting ground and the only thing standing in their way are a collection of cops, a couple journalists and an ex gang member who hates cops. As the fight for survival begins, anarchy rains down and the aggressive and violent power of Father and his followers lays waste to everything and everyone in their path. But, the human instinct to survive is one of our greatest strengths. Can that possibly win through against such unsurmountable odds? Read The Exeter Incident to find out.
The Exeter Incident is a vicious, graphic and blood soaked blast of monster horror and survival thriller. It takes barley a page before the action kicks off and there is no lull. A page turner is a phrase that makes no sense really as every page gets turned in every book but here, you can’t stop reading. You have to read on because every page, every paragraph excites. It is a truly remarkable author that can make me stay up way later than I should and finish a book in one sitting because it is just so enthralling and fulfilling. David Watkins is a masterful writer and he conjures up crystal clear visions from his words. I clearly see the characters, the creatures, the surroundings, despite having never visited Exeter.
The characters are well fleshed out, the anti hero vibe is strong and you feel like they are familiar to you. That’s important because that makes me care. The creatures are not mindless and that is important too as weirdly, a little part of me feels for them as there stories flesh out. I would urge any fan of quality writing to have a good read of The Exeter Incident, feel the adrenaline surge through your body page after page and enjoy a damn good, blood soaked rollercoaster of a book.
The Exeter Incident by David Watkins
The Final Score - 9/10