Butchers by Todd Sullivan


By: Todd Sullivan
Genres: Extreme Horror, Horror
Pages: 108
Publisher: Nightmare Press
Published on: November 21, 2019
Butchers by Todd Sullivan

Kidnapped, turned, and locked away in a concrete basement, high school student Sey-Mi is taught the ways of the damned. Her captors, beautiful and malignant, cruel and insane, torture her until she pledges allegiance to the Gwanlyo, a secret organization of vampires now obsessed with bringing her into their ranks.
Enter Cheol Yu and Hyeri, rogue members who want to liberate vampires and set them upon humankind like a plague. Their first act of rebellion is to persuade Sey-Mi to join them in their twisted objective of unraveling this draconian society of the dead. Before they can do that, they will have to dodge the Natural Police, an order within the Gwanlyo whose objective is to hunt down and butcher any vampires that break the organization's strict rules, and who are currently tracking Cheol Yu for murdering one of their own.
Hyeri, who is no stranger to the organization's wicked methods of agonizing punishment, is hell-bent on bringing them down, and is prepared to lead Cheol Yu through the dark, abandoned streets of the Gwanlyo's compound where Sey-Mi is being held captive. She doesn't intend to go in unarmed, however. Hyeri has a plan - one that might just burn the Gwanlyo to the ground.Will Sey-Mi place her loyalties in the Gwanlyo that rules through terror?
Will she side with rebellious conspirators who strive to bring hell to the world? Or will she carve out her own path through the flesh and bone of anyone who stands in her way? Find out in Butchers, a novella of extreme horror.

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I like vampires, I like horror as long as it doesn’t have any of those icky clowns in it. I also really like non-American telling of species, be it mythical animals or vampires. That is not to say that the author is not American, but the story is not based in the United States. So when approached about reading a vampire horror book based in South Korea. I was like, okay this sounds interesting.



This is not your parent’s vampires. Actually it may be more your parent’s vampires than our vampires, since some of our vampires glitter in the sun. No shame if you like glittery vampires, I tend to go for ones that are bloody and sexy. They don’t even have to be sexy, but they need to be bloody, if they are in a horror book.  Yup, these vampires are bloody so 1 point to the book.



Sey-Mei is a high school student who is in lust with an older man. When I say older, I mean much much older. Soon, her love affair turns dark as she becomes the newest recruit of the Gwanlyo. The Gwanlyo is a secret order of Vampires that essentially live their life under strict rules. There is some more to their organization, but it doesn’t come out immediately or completely. This is a novella so not all questions have answers to them. This is one of the reasons I really want a follow up to this story.



While the recruiting and training of Sey-Mei is taking place, Cheol Yu and Hyeri are running amok. I mean literally Hyeri is running amok to the chagrin of the Natural Police. This story has some double-crossing, triple crossing, and double agent level stuff going on. In a sense these are your typical vampires, but there is a deeper emotional and mental level to them. Cheol and Hyeri have backstories that lead to why they are the way they are. We don’t know a lot about Sey-Mei or others who appear in the book. Again, another reason for a second or even third book. For a novella however, there is a lot more depth then one make think.



The book is good, and I like it. However, the book has a classification of extreme horror, which I disagree with.  I disagree because in my mind extreme horror means something that is really scary. Something that keeps you up at night, hearing every creak of the floor thinking it was finally your time. For me IT is extreme horror.  Okay that is pushing it, but I do hate clowns.



Actually I think that Ron Ripley’s books are extreme horror because damn did they keep me up at night. Now saying that this story isn’t extreme horror doesn’t take away from it. I want to make that clear. I like this book, and I like the way the author wrote it. The story line, the voice, and the characterization are all good. It just isn’t extreme horror. While having a conversation with Melanie, we thought that maybe extreme horror are books with a lot of gore. She was reading a story that is extreme horror as well and it was just gore.



With the genre aside, this is a good story, and I really hope that the author continues this world. I am emotionally invested in what happens now, and I want them to live a relatively good life. Can they with the natural police hunting them? Probably not, but damn I want them to live out their days on a beach somewhere. Obviously, since they are vampires it will have to be a populated beach, but a beach none the less.



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About Todd Sullivan

Todd Sullivan attended his first serious writing class in 1995 at Stanford University. Between 1997 and 2002, he participated in the National Book Foundation's 10 day summer writing retreats. In 2006, he graduated with a Bachelors in English with Concentrations in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. He moved to New York that same year, and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Queens College in Flushing, New York in 2009. Todd moved to Jeju, South Korea, where he taught English in the public school system for five years. He currently lives in Seoul, and is studying the Korean language at Yonsei University. He is also working on a speculative fiction/urban horror novel that takes place in Korea.

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