Review (Short Story): Incubus by Nicholas Taylor

Incubus: A Short Story - Nicholas Taylor

Book Description:

Not all out of town business men are as harmless as they seem, and sometimes the scary stories told around camp fires have some truth to them. Lewis Rudnick isn’t just in Denver for work. He’s a hungry Incubus that’s in town to feed.


My Thoughts:

Lewis is an Incubus and needs to feed on a person’s life force or Vis as it is called. He targets a homeless man and plans his attack. However, before he goes after his victim, he needs to renew his Vis supply a little in case things don’t work out as planned. He goes to a bar to pick up a woman with the plan to take some Vis during a sexual encounter (apparently only Succubi use sex to get their Vis and this isn’t the norm for Incubi – say what?). He meets Becky and they hit it off and he starts to really like her. This complicates his plan somewhat. ...
Lewis really isn’t that scary. He does not feel remorseful or guilty for killing people, but nor is he some psychopath who enjoys it. He is just doing what he needs to do to survive. He actually doesn’t have to kill and, in fact, it is mentioned they are not allowed to kill. When he meets Becky in the bar you see another side to Lewis that is opposite to his Incubi serial-killer persona. He suddenly seems like a decent guy who just wants to enjoy some companionship and actually turns out to be quite gentlemanly towards Becky. At one point he even ruminates about not being able to have a relationship or get married because he would be discovered as a murderer. So his character has some really polar sides to his personality.

When he meets Becky in the bar I started to suspect there would be some delicious twist at the end that may involve her. Well, that theory fell flat on its face…and so did the ending. It was actually kind of “meh” and ended up being quite a let down. You knew what was going to happen to Patches (the homeless guy) then it did happen and then it ends. There is no interesting twist to make you go, “Huh, didn’t expect that!” Instead it was more like, “Huh, that’s it?” There were also a couple of parts that seemed inconsistent to me in the story. He states one thing, then does another.

On the other hand, there were some things I did find interesting that made me want to know more about what was behind some parts of the story. Things like how he was a normal human until he turned twenty and changed but we don’t learn anything about it. Or that Mages will kill Vampires, Succubi, or Incubi if they kill a human for Vis, but it is never explained how that came about. Or even the ring that he wears that magically disguises his nature from other Mutari (this seems to be the terminology for paranormal beings in this world). So what is the story behind these things? Is there already a series related to this story or is it a set up for a future story? Or is it just unnecessary unexplored details for a simple stand alone short story that makes me ask a lot of questions?

So overall, though it was an interesting enough story at first, it fizzled at the end and there were some consistency issues with the story as well as unexplained story details that made me wonder about the what and why of this world. These things, especially the ending, made it just an okay read for me.


Word Count: 5,749 (including back matter) Short Story
Kindle Locations: 319 (story text ends at 75%)
Epub Length: 21 pgs (story text ends on pg 16)
Print Length: 19 pgs (Amazon estimate)
Back matter includes blurb for Pactum and an excerpt
Includes Table of Contents
Source: My Personal Library