John Tigges is one of those prolific horror writers from the 80s that I happened to skipped over for no particular reason. I’ve seen his name and books over the years and I actually have most of his books in my collection. The time had finally come to remedy this omission and Venom was the one that I started with.
Venom drops us smack dab in the middle of a small, midwestern college town where Nita, a competitive tri-athlete, is in a serious relationship with Archer, the up-and-coming research scientist at Middleton University. Archer has recently brought in King Cobras from India to study the effects of their venom. Much to Anita’s dismay, he is more concerned with his experiments than rising up the department ladder and doesn’t apply for the open head of department chair. Soon afterwards, many of his superiors begin dying off from unusual circumstances, including large doses of King Cobra venom.
Tigges is a solid writer. The prose is smooth and engaging. For the most part, Venom is an enjoyable read. However, there are two main plot gaffes that are hard to overlook. One, Nita comes across and shallow, whiny bitch and it’s hard to sympathize with her plight. Two, credibility flies out the window when there isn’t more of an uproar towards Archer when his key colleagues mysteriously die from the very toxin that he is the only one to have access to. There is another big component in the story that I find extremely unbelievable, but I can’t say anymore without giving away a huge spoiler. Tigges had the bones for a decent story, if only he had made some different choices at some key crossroads along the way.
3 Neurotoxin Dripping Fangs out of 5
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