The Resurrectionists

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

Hicks' flare for history and wild gore carry this novella. If you're looking for an interesting horror read, check this one out. 

I would highly recommend his works, BROKEN SHELLS, REVOLVER,and THE MARQUE.
Was this review helpful?
A warped slice of cosmic horror set in a great historical setting. Believable dialogue, terrifying villains and some extreme body horror. I cant wait for the next part.
Was this review helpful?
The Resurrectionists is an amazing novella filled with a complex mix of body snatching, murder, "The Old Ones", and Frankenstein themes. Set in the days just after the American Revolutionary War, Salem Hawley fought and successfully won his emancipation but is reluctantly drawn into another horrific battle where there is so much more at stake on a cosmic scale. This short introduction to a new series is mindbending, gory, and has the subtle atmospheric flavor of the Lovecraftian world. Oh, did I mention the tentacles? I cannot wait to see how the series plays out.
Was this review helpful?
This author is on my one-click list so when I heard about his new work, I knew that I would need to read it, being a historical horror was a bonus. 
As you are introduced to Salem Hawley a freed slave, a man of honour, trying to do the right thing for his friends putting his own life in danger. When graves of his friends are being robbed, he knew that he had to investigate. 
This book is full of action from page one and I found myself not wanting to put it down. The characters brought out all sorts of emotions and whilst I took to Salem straight away, I had an instant disliking to the doctors behind the scheme. The descriptive scenes instantly transported you to 18th century America. The historical context is well researched and whilst I do not know a lot about American history, I enjoyed reading the acknowledgements and finding out where in history this story was based.   The macabre act of grave robbing draws you into something more sinister than medical research. As the situation at the hospital gets more intense and the doctors are closer to them achieving the end goal, the scenes got darker and if you love gruesome death scenes then this is a book for you.
As this was a fast read, my only disappointment was that I finished it so quickly and I am looking forward to Bones of the Deep
Was this review helpful?
The Resurrectionists is an ambitious project, but then again a historical cosmic horror novel has no chance existing without that ambition. Fortunately, Michael Patrick Hicks has the chops and delivers a story that is as frightening as it is unique. 

There's a lot to discover and hone in on in this novella, from the rampant racism of the time period to the deviant plans of the "plague doctors" to our lead character, Salem Hawley, who commands your attention with every scene. Then there's the violence, and for horror fans, this will have you grinning from ear to ear. There are no heroes in this story, but rather flawed and broken characters, and even our protagonist walks past lines many authors wouldn't cross. I did feel I could have used a little more depth to some of the "villains" as the motivation for their plans didn't pull me all the way across the aisle onto their side, but other than that this is a spectacular start to what will surely be a successful and dreadful series. (The best kind).

Hicks consistently challenges himself rather than writing the same novel over and over, and it's been great to watch his growth from extreme horror to dystopian political fiction to sci-fi horror and now this. Incredibly researched while balancing story, characters, and the darker elements you might expect with Hicks' writing, this is a book you don't want to miss.
Was this review helpful?
The Resurrectionist was a very well-written book. I enjoyed reading it even though it did not turn out to be one of the subgenres of horror that I usually read. I thought it was quite scary.
Was this review helpful?
Based on the blurb, this novella sounded like the perfect read for me; post-Revolutionary War New York setting, bodysnatchers, racial tension, gothic horror and secret societies with an interest in the occult and the supernatural. I thought I'd really enjoy it and to start with I was drawn in and intrigued by the characters. I wanted to find out what it was the plague doctors were up to and whether they'd succeed in their 'experiments'. However, the almost constant sexualised or brutal graphic descriptions just disrupted the flow of the narrative as the plot progressed. I'm not easily put off and usually enjoy a good horror story but this read as if a lot of it was written purely for shock value rather than to build a good story. It felt like much of the language used was gratuitous and I just found it jarring. On top of that events seemed to escalate way too quickly without much development and then monsters appeared. If I'd known it was going to go down that route I wouldn't have bothered so I think the blurb was a bit misleading. As a result, I abandoned my reading of it at about halfway through as I just wasn't enjoying it. The majority of the characters were making my skin crawl and there wasn't enough 'good' to counterbalance all of the evil. Overall, it's not a book I'd recommend unfortunately.
Was this review helpful?
You can find this review and all of my others over at 

Salem Hawley won his freedom after the war, but he still holds his scars. Now, he finds himself drawn into a new war, one unlike anything he could have imagined. The medical and scientific community are doing experiments, on the living and the dead, and when the bodies of one of Hawley's close friend's loved ones are taken to be used in this awful way, Hawley decides it's time to fight back. No one protects the Black man's graveyard, no one looks out for the loved ones who have passed on, so it is up to Hawley to make sure it stops. What he doesn't realise is, the doctors that he is going up against are not all as they seem, they have access to a power of unimaginable strength, they are trying to take governance of this power, and not for the good of mankind. Will Hawley be able to battle against the belief that the colour of one's skin does not dictate your intelligence and heart? And will he be able to fight against what the doctors are hoping to bring about? 

I was SUPER excited when I came across this title on Netgalley. I mean, just LOOK at that cover would you? It is ridiculously eye catching and really drew me in. That's kind of where it all stopped though. The premise of the story, once I'd read it on Netgalley, also interested me. I mean, we're talking about a free man who holds his head up high and battles wrong doings in a world that sees him as a savage and below them simply because of the colour of his skin. We have doctors who, in the name of science and medicine, are trying to bring forth creatures that they once saw on a battlefield, not caring at all that IT COULD DESTROY THE WORLD! So you've got all the trimmings to make a FANTASTIC story. However, for me, it just didn't turn out that way unfortunately. The story was good, don't get me wrong, but I'm having trouble putting my finger on what exactly I didn't really enjoy about it...I feel like the pacing had a lot to do with it. We have big stuff going on, and this is where I'll also put in a trigger warning, there is graphic detail of torture (essentially) so if this is not something you can read, want to read, or you struggle reading it, this one is definitely not for you. There is especially great graphic detail into the torture and murder of women, so I want to make that very clear for those of you who are unable to read such content. 

So yes, there was a lot of stuff going on...I just felt like it dragged so much. It was incredibly slow moving, and it took me over a week to read a book that has around 150 I feel like that is a testament unto itself that the pacing really needed some work. There was definite creep factor to the story which I felt was executed quite well, and I really felt for Hawley and his friend for their people's plight and what they were trying to stop. I feel like the ostracising of people of colour is still very prevalent today, so I loved the parallels that I saw. 

The character of Hawley himself seems very interesting, but to be honest I thought he would have more of a front running me, he felt almost like a secondary character. The doctor, Hereford (I think), came across as the main character, in this instalment anyway. So that threw me a little because I was under the impression that we would be seeing the story through Hawley's eyes the whole time. It's not a massive deal, and I didn't have great issues with it, I was just prepared to read a story that focused more on what Hawley was doing rather than what the doctors were. 

I felt that this story had a very old, gothic, supernatural feel to it, which was great. I want to say lovecraftian, but I don't think it's quite the same. Hicks definitely knows how to execute his craft well and he shows great promise in the horror genre. I am interested to see where this series heads, as I know that we have not seen the end of the doctors and Hawley (I know that's pretty obvious because this book is saying it is #1), so odds are I will continue with this series. I'm really hoping that I can get over the pacing and just throw myself into the story completely, therefore enjoying it more in the end. I know that I am in the minority with my rating of this story, and for that I'm sincerely glad. I'm hoping that the series can win me back with the next instalment.
Was this review helpful?
I received this via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I loved it guys. This book was just what I wanted It to be. The world building was fun and enticing. The characters were very well flushed out. I loved the plot of this. I can not wait to read more by this author. I highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
hank you to Netgalley & High Fever Books for providing me with a copy of The Resurrectionists in exchange for an honest review!

Let me start off by saying that The Resurrectionists is not a bad novella, whatsoever. It just didn't do much for me. I wasn't really pulled into the story until about 60% in & even then, I wasn't really feeling it. 

My favorite thing about The Resurrectionists is definitely the main protagonist, Salem Hawley. He's a very good person & you'll find yourself rooting for him the entire time. If there was more Hawley in this book, I think I would have found more enjoyment in it.

On the opposite end of the Hawley spectrum, are the Resurrectionists & holy heck, ghouls -- they are crazy sonovvaguns. Pure evil. The entire cast of antagonists will cause you to cringe & lemme tell ya, you will love to hate them. 

There are very heavy themes of racism in The Resurrectionists & at times, I found it hard to read -- but honestly, y'all that's a good thing. We tend to brush racism off, so having it blatantly written in front of you forces you to acknowledge that racism does happen. 

The Resurrectionists is very graphic & there's hella gore -- which again, that's a good thing. Michael Patrick Hicks does an amazing job at writing out details; making it very easy to imagine the entire thing. 

The Resurrectionists is a good start of a series & I really think that those who enjoy historial fiction & Lovecraftian horror will enjoy this novella.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Victory Editing Net Galley Co-Op and to the author for providing me with an ARC for review. This review will also be posted to my Goodreads account at:

The Resurrectionists is about Salem Hawley, a free black man in post-Revolutionary America. He is trying to protect the black graveyard as medical students and “Resurrectionists” are digging up newly buried bodies. Not only are they being used for medical science, but they are also being used to try to summon a strange paranormal force.
Unfortunately, I got a little over 50% of the way through the book and decided to DNF. This book is described as being written in a Lovecraftian style of writing, which explains part of my dislike. I have liked the Lovecraft I have read, but have had issues with modern novels described as Lovecraftian. It just is not a style I enjoy reading, though it is not badly written. I know many others will enjoy this.

The story is full of nasty, well-written body horror. My only issue with that is it all seemed to revolve around women, and while they are being mutilated they are also being looked at sexually. That just grossed me out. There were men being beaten and killed, but nothing like what was happening to the women.

Lastly, I will just say I was having an issue connecting with any of the characters including the good guys, the bad guys, or even the women being assaulted.

The 1 star is only because I have to, but in reality I would not rate the book since I did not finish and find it unfair.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great start into a new series featuring the free black man Salem Hawley in the time after the American Revolution. The book tackles several topics at once, such as the still ongoing discrimination of black people, gruesomely displayed in the stealing of buried bodies for 'medical' purposes. Combine this with some doctors intent on studying, or rather conjuring the Other Ones, some otherworldly creatures inhabiting a parallel universe. While I immensely felt for Salem and his fight against the Resurrectionists, the supernatural element of the story was a nice-to-have, but not necessary add-on, without which the book would have been just as thrilling. However, I understand that the appearance of the Other Ones open up an even larger playground for further installments in the series. The author created a multilayered, well-thought plot with complex characters that definitely succeeds to get a reader instantly hooked to the series.
Was this review helpful?
I'd been meaning to pick up some of Michael Patrick Hicks' work for quite some time after hearing friends rave about it, so I'm really pleased to have finally gotten the chance to do so with The Resurrectionists! I'm a big fan of subversive Lovecraftian horror, so I jumped at the chance to read this little novella featuring a recently freed slave as its hero, and I won't hesitate to tell you that Salem is so damn easy to root for. He's a genuinely likeable character and I definitely found myself on the edge of my seat more than once, worried for his safety.

The stakes are very high in The Resurrectionists, as our biggest threat isn't even the terrifying monsters seeping into our world so much as it is the ways that humans will destroy one another without a moment's remorse, whether their fuel be hate, racism, or simple cruel curiosity. Besides Salem and a few very minor side characters, don't go into this one expecting to find too many characters to love!

Hicks' writing is lovely and quick to the chase, and there's a lot of oddity and depravity here that's really fantastically well-done, though sensitive stomachs might want to steel themselves before heading into the scenes in the surgical rooms as there's a lot of gore (which I enjoyed to no end).

The only real complaint that I had, and the reason I couldn't quite mark this one higher than 4 stars, is that sometimes it felt like I was reading two separate storylines in the same novella, rather than two sides of the same story. That could totally just be me and the weird funk I've been in with my reads lately, but even the ending of this novella had me feeling like the plot had been buried a bit. While it wasn't a perfect read, I still had fun with it and would be interested in checking out more of Hicks' work in the future.

Thank you so much to High Fever Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book! I thought the plot was fascinating, and the writing thoroughly engaging!
Was this review helpful?
"The Resurrectionists" is the first in a series surrounding the adventures of Salem Hawley, a man of color who is free after the Revolutionary War. He is wrapped up in trouble because some people are stealing the bodies from the graves of the black community, to sell to the university for research. What unfolds is a something more that he hoped for. The story moves fast and it has very good description and gory as hell, and the plot has several elements of a great horror story. Part Lovecraft, part Frankenstein, the story is actually  it's best elements. 

The part that I did not like is I found it interesting that the Salem Hawley character is the least developed character in the whole thing. There is ample time spent with the evil doctors and grave robbers, describing the foul and disgusting things they are doing, but there is very little in the way of character development for Salem Hawley. I did not connect with him as the main character in this novella and series. I also found it odd that there is a moment toward the beginning where Hawley and his friend Jeremiah, would have been 100% killed. When they face the resurrectionists at the site of the pauper's grave, they get in a fight, get beat up, and the story continues. It seems like an iffy choice in the plot because there was absolutely no reason whatsoever that the two black characters would have escaped that moment. A few of the decisions that Hicks made during the writing of this story makes me scratch my head some, and it really distracted from my reader experience.

Michael Patrick Hicks can write though. He can make the reader see and smell the streets and the open graves and the dead  bodies. His style is very descriptive and methodical, and even though this is quite a short novella, it is very lush and actually very strong writing. I have high hopes for the rest of the series, and I will be checking out some of his other work. This series can get better, and I will keep reading it because of the writing, but I'm not sold on it yet. 

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Wow! I read and reviewed another novella by Michael Patrick Hicks not so long ago (or at least it remains very fresh in my mind), and I’d read great reviews for this novella as well, so I knew it would be good. In this novella, like in the previous one, the author manages to pack great (and pretty scary) action scenes, to create characters we care for, and to bring depth into the proceedings, with a great deal of sharp social commentary, all in a small number of pages. 
This novella also combines elements from a large number of genres, and it does it well. Yes, it is horror (and “cosmic” horror fits it well) but that’s only the beginning. We have historical fiction (the 1788 Doctor’s riot, which took place in New York as a result of the actions of a number of medical students and their professors, known as Ressurrectionists [hence the title), who robbed graves to get bodies for study and experimentation, disproportionately those of African-Americans, was the inspiration for the whole series, as the author explains in the back matter); elements of gothic horror (fans of Frankenstein should check this novella out); some of the experiments brought to mind steam-punk, there are monsters and creatures (Lovecraftians will definitely have a field day); a grimoire written in an ancient  language with fragments of translations that brings the occult into the story (and yes, secret societies as well)… All this in the historical background of the years following the American War of Independence, characters traumatised by what they had lived through, and an African-American protagonist, Salem Hawley, who has to deal with the added trauma of past slavery on top of everything else. 
The story is narrated in the third person, mostly from Hawley’s point-of-view, although we also get to see things from the perspective of some of the less savoury characters (not that anybody is whiter than snow here, and that ambiguity makes them all the more real), and it is a page turner, with set action pieces and scenes difficult to forget. The rhythm of the language helps ramp up the tension and the frenzy of some of the most memorable battle scenes (we have memories of real battles and also battles against… oh, you’ll have to read it to see), which will be very satisfying to readers who love creature/monster horror. There are also some metaphysical and contemplative moments, but those do not slow down the action, providing only a brief breather and helping us connect with the characters and motivations at a deeper level.
I guess it’s evident from what I’ve said, but just in case, I must warn readers that there is plenty of violence, extreme violence, gore, and scary scenes (especially for people how are afraid of monsters and strange creatures), but the monsters aren’t the only scary beings in the story (there is a scene centred on one of the students —the cruellest one, based on a real historical character— that made my skin crawl, and I think it’s unlikely to leave anybody feeling indifferent). Also, this is the first novella in a series, and although the particular episode of the riot reaches a conclusion, there are things we don’t know, mysteries to be solved, and intrigue aplenty as the novella ends (oh, and there’s a female character I’m very intrigued by), so people who like a neat conclusion with all the loose end tied, won’t find it here. 
I have also mentioned the author’s note at the end of the book, explaining where the idea for the series came from, offering insights and links into some of the research he used, and also accounting for the historical liberties he took with some of the facts (I must confess I had wondered about that, and, as a doctor, there were scenes that stretched the suspension of disbelief. Fans of historical fiction might take issue with the factual inaccuracies if they are sticklers for details. Perhaps a brief warning at the beginning of the book might put them at ease, because I think that moving the note to the beginning could detract from the element of surprise and enjoyment). I was fascinated by this historical episode (I was more familiar with the body snatchers exploits in the UK), and I’ll be sure to read more about it.
A thrilling story, well-written, packed with action, creature and cosmic horror, a great protagonist and a fascinating historical background. I can’t wait for part 2!
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an ARC copy of this novella that I freely chose to review.
Was this review helpful?
The first book I read from Michael Patrick Hicks’ was last years no holds barred creature-feature Broken Shells, which has a distinctly vintage horror aesthetic and is bursting with terrifying creatures, buckets of blood and total mayhem. I immediately loved that story and it ended up snagging a spot on my end of the year list. So when Hicks announced The Resurrectionists, I knew I had to read it. I mentioned last week that I have a love for historical horror, and was excited to learn that this novella takes place shortly after the American Revolution. The Resurrectionists introduces readers to Salem Hawley, who earned his freedom fighting for the colonies during the war. After his friend’s family are stolen from their graves by the increasingly numerous resurrectionists, Salem decides to help his friend get justice. However, the group responsible for the grave robbings have motives that stretch far beyond normal medical experiments. Their goals are much darker and as Salem begins to unravel their ultimate goal, he witnesses horrors beyond his wildest imagination. To say that The Resurrectionists is a blast to read is an understatement. I devoured it in one sitting and the frenetic pace starts pretty much from the beginning and never relents. Hicks crafts an interesting mythology that permeates the story and this novel features some of his scariest scenes to date. If you dig cosmic horror and a historical backdrop, this is an essential addition to your library.This is the first book in a proposed series and I for one can’t wait for the next installment!
Was this review helpful?
There will be continued within this book: beak-masked surgeons, grave robbers, evisceration, plague cultists, black magic, monsters, the mystical, otherworldly Old Ones, believing “Suffering is always the key,” and experimentation, with the days of old and prejudices of old.

Opens with scene of horror with the strange, a beaked mask man removing a heart, that may have you hooked in the tale.
“A slender man draped in a thick, waxed overcoat stood over her, his hands gloved in shiny black leather to match the coat. His face was hidden behind a large-beaked mask.”

Storytelling reminiscent of the likes of author Robert McCammon.
Find yourself transported to terrible times and minds with immersive storytelling in the cosmic horror realm.
Reader left eagerly awaiting the continuation of this interlude into heart of darkness.
Was this review helpful?
It’s 1788 and New York City continues to develop in a post-Revolutionary War period of America. Slavery is rampant, people are separated into haves and have-nots by demographic and economic status as well as skin color. As the medical field continues to flourish, corpses are needed for learning purposes, despite how illegal it is. So, this shortage leads many to steal them from cemeteries, especially Negro cemeteries.

Hereford and Bayley are medical doctors, seeking corpses not just for learning, but to perform sick experiments. Sending lackeys to acquire bodies for them by any means necessary, the indigent are found and killed in the name of dark science! Removing hearts from bodies while the people are still alive, what is their sinister purpose for doing so?

Meanwhile, Salem Hawley is a Negro soldier who fought to help liberate America from the British. He’s outraged at the desecration of his dead brethren and decides to fight back in the best way he knows how. But as he gets drawn ever deeper into this situation, what will he find at the heart of these defilements and will he be able to extricate himself from it without the loss of his life?

This is an intriguing premise for a novel and the author's storytelling causes such a terror, it messes up your insides, like someone with a fork inside your torso and slowly wrapping your intestines around it like spaghetti. It induces a high sense of queasiness and moral outrage that rings very true as I read it. Using post-war America as a setting for horror is an unusual idea. The author maximizes it and fills it with captivating characters and tantalizing situations.

The doctors and their crew are a bunch of detestable, gruesome and loathsome individuals who are curious about something they learned about on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Armed with dark motivations, ancient books and a morbid fascination with the macabre, they struggle to find the right method to introduce themselves to a creature they find majestic and mysterious.

I would’ve appreciated a deeper exploration into Hereford and Bayley’s amoral origins and what drives them. This would’ve given me a better idea as to why they are interested in this creature beyond their curiosity. But since this the first novella in a series, I expect that will be rectified in the future.

Hawley is a deep character, richly drawn and filled with a lot of hurt and pain from his history as a soldier. As a free Negro who fought in the war, his plight, righteous indignation, fear for the future and his anger at how the resurrectionists defile Negro corpses makes him a more fully rounded character whom the reader can root for. Despite the odds stacked against him, he uses his intelligence and cunning to manipulate the charged atmosphere between Negroes and Whites in the name of justice. As a result, these attempts to help rectify these wrongs is especially gratifying. His passion for helping his people is keenly felt over the course of this novella.

All of this combines into a conclusion where his enemies try to summon a creature from an otherworldly dimension. It’s a wild, horrifying cacophony of carnage, with blood, bone, gristle, exploding heads and strange creatures indiscriminately killing left and right. The situation reaches its apex and the intensity of the danger is disturbingly real. It’s a thrill ride the likes of which you have never experienced before. The conclusion is satisfying and leaving room for growth into the next novella in the series.

In the end, there is also an acknowledgments section, which shows the real world history the author researched in writing this book. I appreciated his utilization of certain historical figures, the sources for his research and how he skillfully incorporated all of this into this story.

I’ve read many stories by this author previously and the hallmarks of his storytelling style are all present: an otherworldly presence, heightened tension, visceral gore and characters I care about. However, in this novella, I felt there is something extra special the author has created here. The time period is a fantastic setting to explore horrors of a historical nature. Hawley’s situation and character seem even more enriching than his usual high-quality storytelling and there is especially palpable desperation and rage here, more so than I’ve seen in most of the author's previous stories.

To me, the author appears really inspired by this story and hits on some really raw nerves in the process as the story unfurls. Since this is the first novella in a series, I really want to see where he takes this story and what otherworldly realms we visit next. Just don’t use my corpse for science before the next novella comes out, please. I want to see what happens next.
Was this review helpful?
5 out of 5 Tentacles

I like my Lovecraftian Mythos seasoned with a dash of evil cultists, a pinch of other worldly terrors, and a heaping side of eldritch tentacles braised in a sauce of eeriness and dread. Michael Patrick Hicks is the four star chef of my new favorite Outré restaraunt. To be honest, I almost didn't make it past the first chapter. I'm not a squeamish person and I don't mind a little bit (or buckets of) blood with my horror books, but the opening chapter is so detailed in its brutal depiction of violence that I almost had to stop reading. Fortunately, Micahel Hicks talents for telling a story and creating a believable world are as strong as his ability to churn the stomach. 

The Resurrectionists is part 1 in a new series featuring Salem Hawley, a freed slave, in the time just after the American Revolution who crosses paths with a group of evil plague doctors that have been robbing the graves of the black community. Their ultimate goal is to build a device that will allow them to tear a hole in reality and let the Elder Gods feast on the Earth. 

What makes the book so compelling is that it is loosely based on real events and many of the evil plague doctors actually existed although their is no evidence that any of them worshiped Cthulhu. The event, which the author extensively discusses in the back of the book, is referred to as the the 1788 Doctors' Riot.  Apparently, Doctors in need of bodies to dissect and experiment on decided to get them by digging up the recently buried.  The loved ones of the recently deceased weren't too happy about this and rioted when a doctor harassed a boy with a severed arm he claimed came from his recently dead mother. 

To strain the metaphor of the restaurant well past breaking, The Resurrectionists is a delicious appetizer that tastes great, is over too quick, and leaves you hungry for the main course. Who is Salem Hawley? What did he do in the war and where did all those scars come from? Where is Hereford? And on scale of scale of Joseph Stalin to Kim Jung-On exactly how evil is Richard Bayley?
Hurry up, Mr. Hicks, the appetizer was delicious, but I'm really hungry

Thanks and thumbs up to Michael Hicks, High Fever Books, and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy
Was this review helpful?