The Night of the Sciurus

A Western Michigan Tale of Terror

Fiction - Horror
114 Pages
Reviewed on 05/17/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

The Night of the Sciurus by Linda Watkins is a Western Michigan Tale of Terror. Brooke and her daughter Tessa have started a new chapter in their lives and have just moved into their new house in a idyllic town close to Lake Michigan. Nothing is as ideal as it seems, however. It all starts when Tessa finds a wounded baby squirrel and insists they nurse it back to health. Brooke plans to eventually release it but, before they can, Brooke uncovers a darker secret in this idyllic community.

As is often with horror tales, this charming community has a darkness underneath. On the surface everything is ideal and cheery until Tessa finds a seemingly harmless baby squirrel. This sparks a gradual change as the first incident with Tessa being attacked by a squirrel leads Brooke to noticing more of what is going on in this town. An eerie case of nature versus man arises, centered on Brooke's fight against hordes of squirrels with only her dog Petey as her ally. Linda Watkins tackles a unique approach to horror which I haven't read before but with a familiar horror vibe to the story. Watkins takes these everyday normal animals and turns them into Brooke's worst nightmare.

This story is a quick read with events happening fast and an eerie opening that immediately draws you into the plot. Watkins sets up the twist early and provides plenty of mystery underneath as you wonder just what is happening to these squirrels and if a deeper conspiracy is going on behind it. Watkins weaves a tale of fright reminiscent of Hitchcock's The Birds but with the unique twist of squirrels. The Night of the Sciurus is a perfect treat for horror lovers who like frightening tales set in nature.

Jack Magnus

The Night of the Sciurus: A Western Michigan Tale of Terror is a horror novella written by Linda Watkins. The quiet little town of North Laketon, Michigan seemed the perfect place for Brooke Davis, her nine-year-old daughter, Tessa, and Petey, their English Setter, to lay down roots. Henry, their new elderly neighbor told Brooke a crazy story about a cat-sized squirrel that menaced his wife a few days prior. The squirrel didn’t go away either; his wife said it seemed to be sizing her up to see if she would stand up to it. Henry said they had had enough of living there. The kids were grown, and that squirrel was the last straw. Brooke wondered if Henry was suffering from an early case of dementia. The squirrel story was just too crazy. But a few days later, there was indeed a for-sale sign on his property, and Brooke began to notice just how many properties were for sale in the neighborhood.

In the Acknowledgments to her horror novella, Linda Watkins indicates that it was written as an homage to those “wonderful old horror movies of the 1950s and early 1960s spawned by the fear of nuclear weapons and the effect of radiation on our planet.” She recounts the hours spent mesmerized by those stories. As I read this, my own Saturday afternoons spent watching movies such as Them!, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman came to mind. Those movies were scary as heck when you were a little kid, but, somehow, at the same time, they were irresistible and fun. Watkins instills that same sense of the absurd and the terrifying in this tale about giant squirrels who are not only huge and aggressive, but who also seemed to have developed an alien and fearsome intelligence. Her plot is a grand one, and her characters are plausible and well-defined. The reader can’t help but get involved in their plight and watch as they fight to survive. The Night of the Sciurus: A Western Michigan Tale of Terror is most highly recommended.

Debjani Ghosh

Imagine this, if you will. Your little daughter is playing in a lush green park. You are sitting with your friends there, a little away from your daughter. Suddenly, there is a high-pitched scream. You are startled and frightened to see it's your kid who is screaming. You are horrified to see deep scratches on her hands and neck as if a ferocious animal had attacked her. But there is no vicious creature in sight. Strange? Residents of North Laketon, Michigan—an idyllic community—are grappling with such bizarre incidents. Brooke Davis arrives at this seemingly serene place with her daughter and pet dog with hopes of a new future. However, they are soon going to find out something sinister is hiding in North Laketon. Read The Night of the Sciurus: A Western Michigan Tale of Terror by Linda Watkins to discover what.

Linda Watkins has created an absolutely engaging tale in The Night of the Sciurus. Further, it’s a short read. Consequently, I finished it in two sittings straight. It is lucidly written, fast-paced and has a credible plot. I simply couldn’t stop reading once I started. Watkins transported me to the picturesque setting of North Laketon with its stately houses flanked by towering, majestic oaks. However, before Brooke can settle herself in this peaceful neighborhood, she (along with readers) must face a disquieting menace. In a short span, Brooke and her dog, Petey, create quite an impression. Petey was so adorable I wanted to cuddle him. Brooke was courageous and intelligent. Watkins provides a glimmer of hope at the end to counter the heavy dose of horror. However, due to its brevity, the novel ended rather soon but not abruptly. I would have liked a bit more elucidation of the march to haven. Nevertheless, The Night of the Sciurus by Linda Watkins is recommended for horror and science fiction fans.