A Stalled Ox by Dean Moses

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A Stalled Ox by Dean Moses
Publisher: Black Hill Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (120 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

An isolated religious cult has reportedly been consuming meat while the rest of the planet has been forced to live a life without it. Presuming this sect has resorted to cannibalism, two agents from an organization known simply as The Agency are dispatched to investigate. Will they find evidence of humans eating one another? Or is something even stranger taking place?

Change isn’t easy, especially when it’s forced upon everyone in the entire world.

Howard was such an interesting main character. What I liked the most about him was how much time he spent trying new things when a previous idea didn’t work out for whatever reason. This is exactly the kind of behavior I’d expect to see in someone who has his occupation. Observing him do it so often made me like and trust him even more than I would have otherwise.

This story included a lot of telling the readers what a scene was about instead of showing me how it was unfolding. As excited as I was by the premise, I had trouble emotionally connecting to the characters because of this disconnect. It would have been so helpful to have more details about what was happening and what Howard and Linda were thinking about as they worked on their case together. This is something that I was really expecting to love. It included many important elements of what I look for in a great book, but this specific issue made it hard for me to lose myself in the plot.

The horror themes were handled nicely. It’s rare for me to stumble across a mystery that includes this kind of material, so I was quite interested in seeing how the author was planning to blend them together. What surprised me the most about the horror was how quickly it began to show up. This wasn’t something I was expecting, but it did work well with everything else that was going on.

Give A Stalled Ox a try if you’re in the mood for something dark.

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