Brood X

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Pub Date 8 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 Jun 2022
TKO Presents, TKO Rogue

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A nail-biting murder mystery unlike any other that will leave you guessing until the very last page. 

With the Red Scare on the rise and a looming fear of nuclear war gripping the nation, seven laborers gather under the smoldering heat of an Indiana summer to begin a curious project: constructing a bomb shelter in the middle of nowhere. But when the emergence of a once-in-a-century cicada swarm ushers in a series of increasingly unlikely accidental deaths on the site, the survivors start eying each other with more than just suspicion. And with good reason. One of them has heard the cicadas' maddening song before. A nail-biting murder mystery unlike any other that will leave you guessing until the very last page.

Brood X is a TKO Rogue illustrated novella written by bestselling author Joshua Dysart and features illustrations by internationally-renowned artist M.K. Perker.

A nail-biting murder mystery unlike any other that will leave you guessing until the very last page. 

With the Red Scare on the rise and a looming fear of nuclear war gripping the nation, seven...

A Note From the Publisher

Published by TKO Presents and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Published by TKO Presents and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781952203282

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Average rating from 8 members

Featured Reviews

Seven drifters, some with checkered pasts, are recruited to work on constructing a mammoth bomb shelter in rural Indiana at the height of the red scare. All is going well, but it’s 1953, a year where the cicadas come out, and boy do they ever. One of the largest cicada infestations in recorded history occurred that year. There are so many that the loud drone makes the workers crazy, the bugs get in their food and machinery, and interfere with their work. And then the killings start, and the story becomes an intriguing twist on the locked room scenario. The resolution is quite the surprise and I didn’t see it coming.

Overall, a quick read and an interesting one.

My thanks to TKO Presents and to Netgalley for a complimentary copy of the book.

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Want to know how it feels to sit on a back porch on a late summer night, deep in the south, and hear a story that was way more disturbing than you’d thought it would be? If yes, then you’ve been looking for this book.

This is a very fast, very engaging read. It’s spooky, it’s atmospheric, and it’s sort of deceptively simply written in a way I’m not sure I can explain - from the word choice to the sentence structure, it’s always just right. There is such a wide variety of adjectives used in this book, some that I’ve not seen in years - that’s impressive on its own, but especially so here, because neither the dialogue nor the plot line are burdened by unnecessary language. You’ll find a massively important (and possibly unexpected) event relayed to the reader in a single 2-word sentence, and on the next page you get a philosophical pondering that goes far beyond the scope of the story contained within 7 words. If you’re not one for laboring through extensive world-building, give this a shot.

The book is both blunt and subtle in its delivery: it isn’t a shove-it-in-your face kind of story, but it’s a great example of *showing* the reader what you want them to understand as opposed to just telling them. I didn’t manage to guess who bore the responsibility of the murders - I was so busy wondering what was going to happen next I forgot to speculate. Not to mention, the plot moves so quickly that you never have to wait long enough for the next event to sit around and wonder. I did genuinely expect it to be a far different kind of reveal, and I was surprised (in a good way) at the plainness of what actually happened.

I do recommend it to fans of horror - but if you’re looking for lighthearted or for optimism, look elsewhere. It’s not a heart-pounder, but it does the building, creeping dread thing very well. I’m extremely glad I’ve read it because it does what it does fantastically - and I’m not usually a fan of the impending-doom-feeling because it’s hard to do without just being miserably depressing, but this is just absolutely remarkable written-word storytelling, which is how it got its 5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read it! This is one that will stick with me for a long time.

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In ‘50s America, seven desperate men are tasked to build a bomb shelter in a remote forest clearing amidst a vast swarming of cicadas. As accidents and deaths occur, they start to suspect each other whilst nature itself becomes an increasing threat to them…
Wow! What an original and visceral thrill this book is! Set in the McCarthy era so communism is a shadowy presence, and so is the racism and anti-semitism endemic of that age; an allegory for the suspicion that brews in the construction site. There is a vivid passage that describes the cicadas emerging from the earth in a seething mass, a metaphor for the American fear of “Reds under the beds”. Soon the bugs are flying everywhere and singing in a deafening cacophony, their mating ritual driving the men mad in different, destructive ways.
Author Joshua Dysart doesn’t have many pages in which to flesh out the characters, and he doesn’t need them either. Each character, their background, appearance and temperament, is vividly drawn. The pacing is spot on as the men go from nervous mutual tolerance to full-blown suspicion of each other - this is a headlong ride to oblivion, as profound as it is horrific.
In many ways, “Brood X” is a “locked room mystery”, albeit a rather twisted one that Poirot couldn’t imagine in his worst nightmares. This is a short book, more of a novella than a full novel, and is better for it. Told in the present tense, it has a concise, direct power and I was sucked into the story very quickly thanks to Joshua Dysart’s exceptional writing. Gory in parts, Dysart’s descriptive skills are often too much to handle. Atmospheric b&w line drawings by M. K. Perker pepper the text, adding a haunting visual dimension to the story. The ending, just like everything that has happened in the story up to that point, is a tragic gutter-punch.
“Brood X” is an unforgettable masterpiece; read it in one sitting, then read it again. Just read it.

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It is the summer of 1953 when people were afraid due to the Red Scare. There is fear that a nuclear war will happen. Seven men are hired to build a bomb shelter in the woods far from everyone. At fast the building progresses until the cicadas wake up by the disturbance of their home the cicadas cover the whole camp. They are hungry and looking for mates. The camp dog is eaten by them. When the men wake up the next day, they discover a man is dead. How did that happen? Did one of the men do it? The manager of the men decides o go and get help in his pickup. Sadly he manager and one of the men go with him. The pickup smashes into a tree and the driver dies. The other man okay and walks back to camp. He tells them about the accident and the manager’s wife screams. She can’t believe it. What will happen to her and the rest of the men?

The author has written a novel that moves quickly. He tells us about each character’s personality and what work their speciality is in building a place. I couldn’t figure out who and why someone was killing them. I liked the challenge of trying to figure it out. It is a great horror mystery. I would had not guessed who was responsible and much less the reason.

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Thank you #NetGalley and #TKOPresents for sending me Brood X by #Joshua Dysart to read and review.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced story.
There are seven men hired to complete an underground bunker for an anonymous person. While working on the site, a swarm of cicadas are released into the area. One by one, all the men work against the mental strain of having thousands of cicadas flying, singing, and landing on them.

Each chapter has some exceptional artwork that portrays the event. This was a nice touch to the story.

I hope to read more by Joshua Dysart. He is a talented writer who weaves a fantastic story.

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