Book Review: Sunblind by Michael McBride

22699416Title: Sunblind

Author: Michael McBride

Genre: Horror, Supernatural Horror, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When U.S. Border Patrol Agent Christian Rivera discovers the body of an undocumented alien in the middle of the vast Sonoran Desert with three enigmatic words carved into her flesh, presumably by her own hand, it triggers a frantic search for the remainder of her party, a group of twenty-five men and women who have inexplicably vanished into the desert.
Aided by two of the agency’s best trackers, Rivera follows the woman’s trail into the brutal heart of one of the hottest and most unforgiving landscapes on the planet, where nothing can survive for long. As more bodies turn up, Rivera and the others begin to realize they may be up against an enemy far deadlier than the desert, an unseen adversary that will stop at nothing to take from them what it needs to survive. A mythical evil that may not be myth at all, but horrifically real, could very well be stalking them, and their only hope of surviving the same fate that befell the missing party lies in deciphering the clues to their disappearance before it’s too late. If it isn’t already…
From Michael McBride, bestselling author of Burial Ground and Snowblind, comes Sunblind, a thrilling new novel of terror and action that will take you on an unforgettable journey from the desperate streets of Mexico, through the deadliest corridor in the world, to a place where mankind was never meant to tread.

Sunblind is an intense book, with the suspense railing high right from the start. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Christian Rivera runs into the body of an illegal immigrant, with a sinister message carved into her chest. She’s on the verge of death, but the message, and the pictures on her camera, lead Rivera to suspect the rest of her party, a group of twenty-five men and women, may still be alive, and vanished somewhere in the desert. He follows the woman’s trail into the heart of the desert, aided by two of the best trackers. As more bodies turn up, Rivera starts to suspect the unforgiving desert may not be the only thing he’s up against.

At the same time, we take a trip back in time, and followw Mayra, the immigrant woman, as she joins a group of people heading into the desert, and the horrors she goes through while being there. At some point, the author describes the thirst and hunger of the characters so well that I almost felt physically ill. Michael McBride has the uncanny ability to make readers care almost too much about his characters – I know it’s horror, but still I cared for Mayra so much that I didn’t want her to die, or even to get hurt. Although the other characters sometimes remain unnamed, instead being referred to by their characteristics, I still cared for them. The back story of Mayra and her party members was the most interesting of both storylines, but toward the end, they both collide nicely in a fascinating climax that I won’t forget any time soon.

Rather than horror – although the book has its horrific moments – it’s more like the kind of read that just leaves you like a total wreck. Mayra’s life has been horrible from the start, with what happened to her sister and than to her, her ordeals in the desert, and you just want her pain to end, want her to get one lucky break. You cannot feel anything but sympathy for a character who goes to impossible lengths to survive, who beats all odds and still continues on, and that’s what Mayra does, and what makes her so sympathetic and so tragic at the same time.

The book has it all: from supernatural horror to the realistic horror (which in my opinion, is even scarier) like the trip through the desert – God, I’m never looking at a desert the same way again – amazing characters and extraordinary writing. One of the best horror novels I’ve ever read.

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