Oasis of the Damned

Oasis of the Damned - Greg F. Gifune I received an ARC ebook of this novella from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a huge fan of Greg Gifune, with my favorites so far being “Saying Uncle” and “A View from The Lake.” This is another fine novella from Gifune and another great publication from Darkfuse.

I don’t usually focus too much on plot in my reviews as the book synopsis usually provides that. Also, there is always more going on in a Gifune story than the actual plot events. Plot-wise, the story deals with the present while looking backward to the events in the life of Heather and Owens, both soldiers, and what lead them to this oasis. Owen has been there for awhile. Heather is the new arrival. Both are victims of plane crashes. They are, however, not the first visitors by any means. Weaponry and other artifacts, some of it ancient, show that people have been here for a very long time.

Some plot details are necessary. A natural spring of fresh water in the desert should be a heaven. Actually it is quite the opposite. While people have been saved by the water source, there is a cost. Every night the place is overrun by nightmarish creatures intent on slaughtering the people taking shelter there.

That is the basic story line, but really it begs more questions than it answers. Additionally, as we learn more and more about the history of the occupants of the oasis, we begin to question everything about this place, which appears to have a purpose--and it isn’t providing fresh water to stranded travelers. To go much further would be to spoil the tale, but suffice it to say that Gifune’s story works on several levels and provides an interesting take on very old concepts, including guilt, punishment, and redemption.