Review: Claws by Russell James

National Park Service Rangers Kathy West and Nathan Toland are the only ones stationed at Fort Jefferson, a restored Civil War fort sixty miles off Key West, Florida. Two overnight campers go missing, but before the rangers can investigate, shady Homeland Security agent Glen Larsson arrives to close the park due to a purportedly imminent red tide.

Things quickly escalate out of control when mercenaries arrive to back up Larsson and imprison the rangers. Larsson’s plan is to free a cast of giant crabs to overrun the park, and then Florida beyond.

It’s up to Kathy and Nathan to escape the fort, and then, with the help of an old Coast Guard vet and a scientist with inside knowledge of the plot, to save millions of innocents from rampaging giant crabs. But Larsson’s evil plan has been decades in the making, and the crabs seem indestructible. It will take courage, teamwork, and perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, to avert disaster.

Claws by Russell James. Published by Severed Press, May 2019. Kindle edition, 152 pages.

Now THIS.… is my type of story. 😀 Giant sea creatures. Yes! Thank you! And I love crustaceans! They are so cute! ❤ So it always makes me happy to see a horror story involving something like killer crabs. I absolutely LOVE publisher Severed Press. They really know how to deliver fast paced, entertaining creature feature novels.

Claws has a glorious B-movie feel to it. I really got the feeling that the author loved those sort of movies just as much as I do. He pretty much nailed the whole vibe.

You did not have to wait very long for things to go sideways in this book. Very fast paced, it was over before I knew it. Small body count, but don’t let that fool you… there were plenty of tense, tight situations the small group of people found themselves in. There was also beaucoup crab carnage and destruction! Tons of great face offs between humans and crabs.

I really enjoyed the characters. The two ranger main characters had a nice chemistry together. I would love to see these two characters in another story. The ending did kind of make it feel like…. maybe sequel? I really hope so! Everyone though, even the bad guys, were fun to watch. Even though they were the villains, they kinda grew on you. Ok, maybe not Larsson! He was a dick the whole time.

Speaking of Larsson… I kinda didn’t really get a clear view of what his deal even was? Why was he doing this crazy ass plan? He made a few remarks about revenge for what happened to his father, but I don’t really recall him or anyone else mentioning what specifically happened to his father? Was he on a boat that sank in the Bay of Pigs or something? I don’t know… I don’t think it was mentioned…? I didn’t catch it if it was.

There was another part of the story that left me scratching my head a little bit. See, there is this Fort that everyone is at, and there is a moat around the fort. Somehow the moat was supposed to keep the crabs away from the fort? How though? The crabs are in the water. The moat is water. The crabs can walk on land. Can’t the crabs just walk through the water and climb up the moat wall? Right? And then, on top of that, at one point the moat gets drained of all the water and one of the rangers acts like because the water is gone, NOW the crabs are going to climb the wall. Wha-? It just didn’t seem to make any sense? That didn’t kill the book for me, though. Claws is still extremely entertaining… but I didn’t really like feeling like I had missed something kind of important. :/

The author did a great job of inserting giant crabs into the history of the Florida Keys / Cuba area. It was clear that James did a lot of research in the area and had a lot of fun telling us all about it in the middle of this crazy ass killer crab story. It never felt like a history lecture or that the story was bogged down with info dumps or anything like that. It was a great balance of real info and crazy fiction. The whole time I was reading this, I wanted to fly down to the Florida Keys and visit Fort Jefferson and look around for any crabs! 😀

I loved this story. Extremely fun and entertaining. The only reason I’m not giving it a 5 star rating is because of the small amount of confusion in two spots. Other then those spots, though, a great ride! If you are a big fan of crazy creature B-movies, you should check this one out. 🙂

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