There is something ancient hidden on the Florida Peninsula: the strangely preserved skeleton of a prehistoric-looking fish. The fish was once a tool of God but has given itself entirely to evil; in the wrong hands, it can cause unimaginable terror. Unfortunately, it has been found, and although it holds tremendous power, it is at first unclear what. Longtime friends Scott and Curt have come upon the skeleton after researching a 400-year-old manuscript. Unsure of what they have found, they soon discover that they may be responsible for recent unsolved murders. Only after it is too late do they realize the evil they have unleashed. With a hurricane the likes of which Florida has never seen approaching, Scott and Curt must fight to contain the evil and save those they love. Fish of Souls is the first in a series by Gary Williams.
A summary of the plot makes Fish of Souls sound like an original voice in the horror genre – and, for the most part, it is a novel idea (forgive the pun). But the details turn the idea into something more like a made-for-television movie: entertaining, but a bit overdramatic and hokey at times. At times it appears that Gary Williams is trying too hard.
Still, for a debut novel and one that was the product of the publish-on-demand market, it is not a bad effort. Williams does an admirable job at creating a good backstory with ties to Christianity, though the ties may be too strong at times for those who do not avow Christian belief. The action is also described with decent ability and the dialogue is adequate, although again sometimes hokey.
Overall, Fish of Souls comes out decently. The prospective reader should be prepared to put a bit more work into it than may be desirable as the page count climbs over four hundred. Also, be aware that it is the first in a series, though excluding the last paragraph or two it works quite well as a stand-alone novel. All told, the reader who finds the story intriguing, is looking for a lighthearted read, and is willing to overlook the novel’s weaknesses might want to take a look at Fish of Souls.