counter create hit The Specimen: A Novel of Horror (The Riders Saga Book 1) - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Specimen: A Novel of Horror (The Riders Saga Book 1)

Availability: Ready to download

From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England ... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he disco From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England ... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large specimen jar, containing something organic, unnatural and possibly alive. Now, he and a group of unsuspecting individuals have discovered one of history's most horrific secrets. Whether they want to or not, they are caught in the middle of a millennia-old war and the latest battle is about to begin.


Compare
Ads Banner

From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England ... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he disco From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England ... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large specimen jar, containing something organic, unnatural and possibly alive. Now, he and a group of unsuspecting individuals have discovered one of history's most horrific secrets. Whether they want to or not, they are caught in the middle of a millennia-old war and the latest battle is about to begin.

30 review for The Specimen: A Novel of Horror (The Riders Saga Book 1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    In his debut novel, Pete Kahle blends scifi and horror in this sprawling epic that spans more than a millenia. An alien parasitic horror has been among us, controlling us for their own devious ends, and most were complete unaware. Whole civilizations, governments, fell under their influence...but for a shadowy group bent on thwarting them, studying them for centuries in order to eradicate them from the face of the planet. But will this be enough, for this enemy is cunning beyond belief, tenacious In his debut novel, Pete Kahle blends scifi and horror in this sprawling epic that spans more than a millenia. An alien parasitic horror has been among us, controlling us for their own devious ends, and most were complete unaware. Whole civilizations, governments, fell under their influence...but for a shadowy group bent on thwarting them, studying them for centuries in order to eradicate them from the face of the planet. But will this be enough, for this enemy is cunning beyond belief, tenacious and fierce beyond comprehension. And they will not go without a fight. What Kahle does so well with this ambitious scifi horror novel, is pretty seamlessly move the narrative while flashing back and forth between time periods, both in the 60s, to far back in history, to current day. His cast of characters are many, but he managed it well, although the List of Characters preceding the opening chapter helped. Fans of THE THING will devour this, which is part 1 of a planned series. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adam Light

    The Specimen is a sprawling sci-fi/horror tale centered around a race of alien creatures that have existed among humans on earth for thousands of years, and the secret organization bent on eradicating them once and for all. Overall, this epic novel was well-written, captivating, and fun. I will certainly read the sequel when it is released. I have to be honest; it took a bit of effort to get through the first half. After a thrilling opening sequence, things slowed down and the narrative jumped ar The Specimen is a sprawling sci-fi/horror tale centered around a race of alien creatures that have existed among humans on earth for thousands of years, and the secret organization bent on eradicating them once and for all. Overall, this epic novel was well-written, captivating, and fun. I will certainly read the sequel when it is released. I have to be honest; it took a bit of effort to get through the first half. After a thrilling opening sequence, things slowed down and the narrative jumped around between many different character pov's in different eras through time. Each character was given thorough back stories which tended to deter from my engagement in the story. I felt there was just not enough momentum, and I nearly gave up on it. I hung in there though, and am glad I did. The second half was well worth the investment. The action ratched up, the gore splattered the pages, and the ride never slowed down until the end. Solid four stars, would have been better with a little editing in the first half. I should mention the author gave me a copy of his novel without asking for a review. I thought it was a classy move, and Pete is a good guy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jason Parent

    An epic horror, and a strong debut novel. More to come...

  4. 5 out of 5

    (shan) Littlebookcove

    First of the mark. This story Grips you I can't Get over how this is the authors 1st novel From the description: From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large s First of the mark. This story Grips you I can't Get over how this is the authors 1st novel From the description: From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large specimen jar, containing something organic, unnatural and possibly alive. Now, he and a group of unsuspecting individuals have discovered one of history's most horrific secrets. Whether they want to or not, they are caught in the middle of a millennia-old war and the latest battle is about to begin. It totally takes you on a journey. Though the Ages. Parasitic Beasts called the Riders want humans as There steeds. Will they get them in this day and age?? Pick up the book and see! All in all I really enjoyed this book its jam packed with everything a horror fan likes from gore to an Epic Plot. Looking very forward to reading an other instalment as the ending floored me. Only downside I found with this novel was it was 600 pages. But once your in to the Plot flys by

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Meeks

    This is the first thing I've ever read by Pete Kahle, but it won't be the last. The book has great pacing, believable characters and the story as a whole is great. The mix of horror and sci-fi is perfect and it made me want to go watch some of my favorite movies of the same genre, which is always a good sign. The premise on the surface may seem as though it's been done before, but as soon as you start to read it, get right into the thick of it, you realize that Pete is giving you a fresh look at This is the first thing I've ever read by Pete Kahle, but it won't be the last. The book has great pacing, believable characters and the story as a whole is great. The mix of horror and sci-fi is perfect and it made me want to go watch some of my favorite movies of the same genre, which is always a good sign. The premise on the surface may seem as though it's been done before, but as soon as you start to read it, get right into the thick of it, you realize that Pete is giving you a fresh look at it and takes you around corners you've never been before. I highly recommend this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    This review doesn’t make me feel great, I have only met the author through the internet but Pete and I have talked a few times and I think he is a cool cat. I was really looking forward to reading this because I like Pete’s taste in novels and film and thought the concept was cool. The Specimen is a science fiction horror novel about a very SLOW alien invasion that has happened against the back drop of human history. For thousands of years these body snatcher like aliens referred to as Riders hav This review doesn’t make me feel great, I have only met the author through the internet but Pete and I have talked a few times and I think he is a cool cat. I was really looking forward to reading this because I like Pete’s taste in novels and film and thought the concept was cool. The Specimen is a science fiction horror novel about a very SLOW alien invasion that has happened against the back drop of human history. For thousands of years these body snatcher like aliens referred to as Riders have been influencing our history and infiltrating our species. Most of the narrative takes place in modern New England after group of urban explorers find a jar with an alien rider intact in a closed insane asylum . The Asylum has a history that ties back to the ancient conflict that goes back to events that are explained in interludes. There are moments of good writing and the story is very cool one. I loved the concept and think there is a good epic here. I give Kahle credit for being ambitious, but I don’t think this book ultimately does its job of telling the story. I finished reading it, but had I not been given a review copy I doubt I would have lasted past the first 150 pages. The first warning sign should have been three page list of characters at the front of the book. I referred to it often because the characters blended together for me. I kept thinking of The Stand I don’t remember no matter how characters were introduced needing a list. Many of the characters get their own narrative thread, infact that was an issue I had. This book never built up narrative steam for two reasons. New characters were added constantly and when it did swing around it was broken up with “articles”, journal entries or Classified files. It told the story sure but each non-narrative device (like articles or files) forced the reader out of the story momentum. The disjointed story in that sense never was able to grab my interest. This review hurt me to write because Kahle’s dedication to telling this story bleeds off the page. I am sure this style works for some. It could be argued that the master Stephen King used this style in Carrie, but that was a shorter book and tactic was used much more sparingly. There is sequel in the works, I think Kahle has a cool concept to work with but I personally didn’t like the style of writing. When He tells a straight story I enjoyed it. I could see the talent and ability. A more straight narrative in the sequel and the concept is cool enough I will give it a shot.

  7. 4 out of 5

    D. Hilliard

    I should give two serious warnings about this book before going further… #1. It is gory. Both fatalities and injuries are described in graphic detail, there are quite a few of them and some are inflicted in a sadistic manner by the antagonists. #2 This is a large book that covers several different time periods and has a large cast of characters. This matters because my first attempt at reading it was hindered by the fact I was trying to read it in thirty minute intervals every day while waiting in I should give two serious warnings about this book before going further… #1. It is gory. Both fatalities and injuries are described in graphic detail, there are quite a few of them and some are inflicted in a sadistic manner by the antagonists. #2 This is a large book that covers several different time periods and has a large cast of characters. This matters because my first attempt at reading it was hindered by the fact I was trying to read it in thirty minute intervals every day while waiting in line to pick up kids from school. That didn’t work well and I kept losing track of who was who. Once I started over and read it for long periods over the course of four days, things worked much better. This is a book to devote a weekend too. Creatures called Riders have been living secretly alongside the human race for millennia. They use people as “steeds”, imparting physical and other gifts to the person although often at the loss of their free will. At some point an organization simple known as ACME evolves and dedicates itself to the study and extermination of the riders. One would think that makes ACME the good guys, but they are a rather murderous crew who harber some true sadists and sociopaths in their ranks. As far as “steeds” and innocent bystanders are concerned, ACME’s methods leave a lot to be desired. So this is more of an extremely long war between two forces with questionable agendas and gruesome methods. The story in this book deals with a lot of characters, and it takes a while for it to settle in and start giving the reader an idea of who the main characters are. Just be patient and keep reading. It turns out to mainly concern itself with one particular specimen that turns up in a bottle, how it got there, and the events triggered into motion by its discovery. One realizes by the end of the book that this is simply one set of events in a vast scenario with a long history. It’s a good read, with lots of action and explorations of the nature of an alien species.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free directly from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I do not know Pete Kahle personally, nor am I being paid for this review. My favorite genre of film is definitely horror, but ironically I haven't truly delved very deeply into the horror genre of books besides the odd Stephen King novel over the years. I had come across this novel awhile back and added it to my to-read list as the premise of it definitely intrigues me. Of all the horr Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free directly from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I do not know Pete Kahle personally, nor am I being paid for this review. My favorite genre of film is definitely horror, but ironically I haven't truly delved very deeply into the horror genre of books besides the odd Stephen King novel over the years. I had come across this novel awhile back and added it to my to-read list as the premise of it definitely intrigues me. Of all the horror sub-genres, body horror and parasitic alien entities are definitely my favorite, and this book seemed like it would have a good mix of that. It certainly didn't let me down. The Specimen is a novel that spans the whole of human history as it explains the connections between human beings and an alien race known only to the reader as Riders. Parasitic extraterrestrial creatures by nature, the Riders utilize humans (which they refer to as Steeds) and the occasional animal to gestate internally within their abdomen, while their adult forms literally cling to their host's back and control their actions through a shared neural connection. The older the Rider, typically the more vicious they become. The modern day aspect of the story begins when a particularly old specimen is discovered locked within an abandoned mental institution. It's the discovery of this particular rider that starts a chain of events into motion that will change the lives of all touched by it - forever. The story swaps back and forth between historical events and a modern day, action-packed story which arguably is is a little bit confusing at first, but as the Rider's symbiotic relationship with their human host's mind becomes more apparent only becomes more enjoyable. For a first-time author, Pete Kahle truly shines in his worldbuilding - connecting the events of the past to the modern day story- and creature design. I thought he did a truly wonderful job designing these sinister, parasitic creatures, and their apathetic nature towards other forms of life was wholly disturbing. I couldn't put this book down. I am a full time college student, and employed full time as well, and I was carrying my kindle around with me just so I could read in free moments in order to find out what happened next. The characters are for the most part wonderfully designed. They feel like real people, all of them, and I was worried for them and cared for them the whole way through. I will say that there were 2 or 3 characters that I didn't see much point to, but considering that this is only the first book of hopefully many - I can see their roles being expanded in the next novel. Being horror, any potential reader should be forewarned that the story itself is quite violent and disturbing. As I said at the start of my review, I'm a big fan of horror, so I didn't mind the gore but I can see how it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. (view spoiler)[ I could have done without all the enthralled cat stomping if I'm honest. (hide spoiler)] All in all, I thought it was a great first novel by someone who is clearly a very promising first-time author. The level of detail in his writing is wonderfully engaging. He's clearly quite talented with prose; although I did come across the occasional editing error here and there, nothing was so egregious that I couldn't figure out what was being said and look past it. With one more edit to trim some of those errors out, I think this book would have been perfect. I'd recommend it to any horror fan, and I will definitely be keeping my eye on Pete Kahle's future endeavors. 4/5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kaisersoze

    For a first time novelist, Pete Kahle certainly does not lack for ambition. He boldly goes right for the jugular in constructing a millennia-spanning tale of creatures of an unknown origin who have been saddling themselves to human hosts and influencing their behaviour for what purpose remains unknown. This interesting riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers - which also shares some attributes with Richard Laymon's novel, Flesh - is epic in length for a horror novel and has a huge cast summarised For a first time novelist, Pete Kahle certainly does not lack for ambition. He boldly goes right for the jugular in constructing a millennia-spanning tale of creatures of an unknown origin who have been saddling themselves to human hosts and influencing their behaviour for what purpose remains unknown. This interesting riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers - which also shares some attributes with Richard Laymon's novel, Flesh - is epic in length for a horror novel and has a huge cast summarised at the beginning of the book over several pages. And it's a cast listing the reader is likely to need as Kahle very frequently jumps back and forth between modern day and events in the mid-'60s, sometimes making it difficult to keep a track of who is who and how they all relate to each other. Kahle's ambition is simultaneously the novel's greatest strength and its most notable weakness. The back and forth between then and now works quite well, but the additional sections labelled "Interludes", depicting the Riders at various stages in history, feel far less necessary as they only pay off in the most tenuous of manners. Similarly, jumping between so many characters mean few - if any - are established as key protagonists, as some appear, make waves, and then disappear for long sections of the book. The idea of initially not being sure who to cheer on works in the books favour, however, as Kahle works hard to depict the organisation charged with ending the threat of the Riders being as "bad" as the creatures they are hunting. By the end of the novel, there's much to like about The Specimen. It crosses the divide between sci-fi and horror (with plenty of thriller elements thrown in) very well. The gore is gruesome, the Riders more complex than they first appear, and, Interludes aside, the pacing is solid for a 500 page novel. Taking into account this was a first published work, I am most certainly in the market for more from Pete Kahle's word processor. Hopefully he won't keep us waiting too long to read his next work. 3.5 Experimenting Mad Doctors for The Specimen. The preceding is based on an eARC generously provided by the author to Horror After Dark in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    THE SPECIMEN is a uniquely written new take on the "intelligent alien parasite uses human beings as host" trope first popularized by Robert Heinlein in THE PUPPER MASTERS in a 1951 novel, and more recently by TWILIGHT SERIES author Stephanie Meyer in THE HOST and Scott Sigler in the INFECTED TRILOGY. One of the things that makes SPECIMEN unique is the shifting timeline. The story mostly shifts back and forth between 1965 and modern day, but with some brief asides beginning around 2200 BCE and ra THE SPECIMEN is a uniquely written new take on the "intelligent alien parasite uses human beings as host" trope first popularized by Robert Heinlein in THE PUPPER MASTERS in a 1951 novel, and more recently by TWILIGHT SERIES author Stephanie Meyer in THE HOST and Scott Sigler in the INFECTED TRILOGY. One of the things that makes SPECIMEN unique is the shifting timeline. The story mostly shifts back and forth between 1965 and modern day, but with some brief asides beginning around 2200 BCE and ranging through the middle ages to 1964. The aliens are introduced early on as wormlike creatures that can gestate within the abdomen of humans or when mature attach themselves as "riders" to to the backs of unsuspecting "steeds", and in most cases completely subsume the steed's personality. In rarer cases, the riders and the steeds have a more symbiotic relationship where in some or most of the human's personality remains dominant and the alien provides increased health and stamina to the steed. Many of the key characters are seen first in 1964-5, out in the real world and then later in Greylock, a sanitarium where a few crazed doctors are experimenting on captured riders. The setting flashes suddenly to modern times where all these characters are doing different things, some of them part of a covert poorly understood organization that has something to do with hunting down riders. The flash forwards and flashbacks are confusing at first, but in both timelines we come to understand more and more about how they interrelate until they merge completely at story's end. Since the official title now seems to be: THE SPECIMEN: A NOVEL OF HORROR (THE RIDERS SAGA BOOK 1) I think it is a safe bet that there is more to come, despite the fact that this 490 page novel has a definite conclusion, so one is not automatically roped into a never ending series of novels to find out what is going on. Both sci-fi and horror, THE SPECIMEN is interesting and well written. although one does have to work a bit with all the time shifting and I suspct that this may cause some readers difficulty. I liked it enough and thought it was original enough to give it 4 stars, which means that I liked it a lot. Recommended. JM Tepper

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Golomb

    "The label was made of a waxy yellow parchment, glued in place and stained in a couple places by a variety of liquids over the years. Beneath the stains, in a barely legible scrawl, it stated: Specimen #73." -from Pete Kahle's "The Specimen" This is a surprisingly good book. It's got aliens, a lot of action, a decent bit of mystery and all-in-all is a well-written tale. This Lovecraftian tale of ancient evil follows numerous characters through numerous time periods that blends mystery with scifi w "The label was made of a waxy yellow parchment, glued in place and stained in a couple places by a variety of liquids over the years. Beneath the stains, in a barely legible scrawl, it stated: Specimen #73." -from Pete Kahle's "The Specimen" This is a surprisingly good book. It's got aliens, a lot of action, a decent bit of mystery and all-in-all is a well-written tale. This Lovecraftian tale of ancient evil follows numerous characters through numerous time periods that blends mystery with scifi with good old fashioned gore-spirited horror. The core narrative orbits around the discovery of a hideous 'specimen' of unknown origin offered for sale at an odds n' ends store. From there we learn of a mind-reading alien entity that's been manipulating pockets of humanity for untold years. Actually, the years are not untold because Kahle does a terrific job of bisecting his core plotlines with alien backstory that takes us to the time of the Aztecs, Spanish Inquisition, and northern Europe circa 700 AD. In addition to the fun historical background tales, I particularly enjoyed the Lovecraftian mood set in passages such as this: "Like a leviathan eel lying in the centuries-old muck at the bottom of a stagnant lake, the horrors from his past stirred up the muddy debris of his mind with its convulsions, sending once hidden fossils to the surface." If you're a fan of monster-based horror and MiB-like shadow military units, you'll like this story and love the fact that it's just the first in a series. It's not particularly deep, but it's a fun read. I recommend it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela Crawford

    From the description: From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large specimen jar, containing something organic, unnatural and possibly alive. Now, he and a grou From the description: From a crater lake on an island off the coast of Bronze Age Estonia... To a crippled Viking warrior's conquest of England... To the bloody temple of an Aztec god of death and resurrection... Their presence has shaped our world. They are the Riders. One month ago, an urban explorer was drawn to an abandoned asylum in the mountains of northern Massachusetts. There he discovered a large specimen jar, containing something organic, unnatural and possibly alive. Now, he and a group of unsuspecting individuals have discovered one of history's most horrific secrets. Whether they want to or not, they are caught in the middle of a millennia-old war and the latest battle is about to begin. What a story! The Specimen is an action packed thrill ride filled with complex characters and intense action. At the beginning of the book I wasn't sure who the good guys were because not all of the " good guys " are good people. That quickly gave way to dying to know what would happen next. My only real complaint would be that I want to know more about where the riders come from. Maybe that question will be answered with a sequel ( I hope! ). Great book! Grab it and hold on for the ride! A solid 4 star read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    What I liked about this book: 1. The name of the store in the beginning 2. How quickly odd things started happening 3. The characters (good ones at least) were easy to relate to/empathize with 4. The history of the *Specimen* provided throughout the book, by way of ACME report/employee manual I am amazed at how well thought out the whole of the history & current explanations were. Very cool. How far back the history went & showing how stories/myths/religions are created. No offense intended to any What I liked about this book: 1. The name of the store in the beginning 2. How quickly odd things started happening 3. The characters (good ones at least) were easy to relate to/empathize with 4. The history of the *Specimen* provided throughout the book, by way of ACME report/employee manual I am amazed at how well thought out the whole of the history & current explanations were. Very cool. How far back the history went & showing how stories/myths/religions are created. No offense intended to anyone. 5. Harry, my favorite character in the book. 6. The cats. Bet you're curious now, but no spoilers! 7. The way the characters wound up being connected, in one way or another to someone else. 8. Giving a reason as to how a girl could/would turn into a sadist. Hated her until the end & then remembered her past. 9. The *cluster* & again, no spoilers here! 10. The fact that the author says at the end that there will be a sequel! Yay! Very very very awesome book! I am so glad that I did not shy away from reading this & will now start to annoy the author with requests to HURRY UP & WRITE THE SEQUEL!!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve Harnden

    This book is simply fantastic. Any fan of horror (or, honestly, science fiction) will be blown away. It's not for the faint of heart, though. The Specimen is as gruesome a book as you will read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark Webster

    Good concept, but a bit too gory for me... If you like detailed gore with a good sci fi story, then you should enjoy this a lot...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rich D.

    Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review I have been a huge fan of anything having to do with aliens for most of my life. When I was younger, I would head down to the local library and check out every single book about aliens I could get my hands on. I started out with children's books ranging from the My Teacher Is an Alien series by Bruce Coville to Animorphs by K.A. Applegate before quickly moving on to adult sci-fi novels and true life accounts of alien encounters. I be Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review I have been a huge fan of anything having to do with aliens for most of my life. When I was younger, I would head down to the local library and check out every single book about aliens I could get my hands on. I started out with children's books ranging from the My Teacher Is an Alien series by Bruce Coville to Animorphs by K.A. Applegate before quickly moving on to adult sci-fi novels and true life accounts of alien encounters. I began checking out every book about aliens I could get my hands on about the Roswell incident, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction and numerous other well-known and obscure encounter cases. While the fiction works I read were highly entertaining, they were not really frightening. My fear of extraterrestrials and UFOs grew out of reading these true life accounts. Besides the obvious fear of the unknown, what frightened me the most was the stories about abductions. What could possibly be scarier than the possibility that entities from all across the universe could easily snatch you away from everything you know at will? In a majority of these encounters, the people who are taken are powerless to do anything to stop the aliens from taking them. Even if they did attempt to escape once taken, where would they go? They are on a spaceship without any possibility of returning to their homes, being totally at the whim of these beings. To this day, watching or reading experiences like this still sends shivers down my spine. Pete Kahle taps into those dark fears with astonishing power in his debut novel, The Specimen. The novel is a sprawling horror/ science fiction hybrid with an enormous cast of characters, a timeline that spans centuries and some seriously terrifying aliens! One of the most impressive aspects of The Specimen is Kahle's creation of The Riders. While the aliens main characteristic of latching on to a host - known in the novel as a "Steed" - is a familiar concept (Invasion of the Body Snatchers immediately comes to mind), Kahle manages to make the creatures feel fresh and unique. Kahle brings their personalities and motivations to light through a series of Interlude sections that follow the actions of Riders throughout recorded history. These Interludes range from an ancient coming-of-age ritual in Estonia in the 23rd Century BC where The Riders begin to spread throughout the world through the horrific events of The Holocaust. The Riders are extremely intelligent, able to tap into the memories of its host and exploit them in order to blend into society and carry out its nefarious agenda. Not only are they able to control their hosts, they have the ability to influence other humans and creatures by releasing pheromones that influence that person or animals behavior to aid it in avoiding detection or capture. They are able to heal themselves and their host as long as their central nervous system is not destroyed which makes them an extremely formidable adversary. As evil as The Riders are portrayed throughout the novel, the ACME group that is supposedly trying to save the human race is just as vicious and deadly as the creatures they are battling. The group, which has been around since the end of the 17th century, has kidnapped, tortured and killed people who had contact with The Riders, even if they were innocent. The most ruthless of these agents is easily Nina Valentine, a woman who joined the group following a horrific incident in her past. She doesn't just inflict pain on those who may be under the influence of Riders because it's a necessary evil in the quest against the aliens, she actually enjoys it. Her ruthlessness plays a major role in the events that shape The Specimen. I loved Kahle's decision to break up the main plot with Interludes, fictional news reports and dispatches from the shadowy ACME agency. Kahle uses these supplementary passages to flesh out the history of both The Riders and The ACME group and show the connections between the characters in the novel. This is also how we learn about The Cluster, a mysterious entity that is connected to The Riders but whose motivations are murky for most of the novel. It shares many of its powers with The Riders, but it is unique in that it does not need a host and can change its appearance at will. The only drawback to The Specimen is that the timeline of events is muddled at times due to the large scope of the story. I originally thought that keeping track of the characters would be the most difficult part of reading the novel, but Kahle does an excellent job giving each one of them a distinctive personality that helps them stand out on their own. However, a lot of the characters disappear for long portions of the novel which makes it difficult to keep track of how much time has passed. Are these events taking course over a few days of the novel? Weeks? Despite the occasional confusion regarding the timeline, The Specimen is an impressive debut novel and one hell of a thrill ride! There is plenty of action, gore and creepy alien awesomeness that makes this a must read for any horror or sci-fi fan. Kahle has mentioned he has plans for a sequel and I am definitely looking forward to continuing the story of The Riders and the ACME group. I am curious to see how the rag-tag group of survivors handle the upcoming threat introduced in The Specimen I am definitely looking forward to learning more about The Cluster! Kahle is definitely an author to watch and I can't wait to see what other dark stories he has swirling around his imagination!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Edmund de Wight

    In some ways The Specimen's concept is very similar to Heinlein's The Puppet Masters. I've always liked the 'disguized threat' story. It lends an air of paranoia to the tale and you're never really sure who is good or bad in that sort of story. Heck I'm currently writing a story of hidden invaders in my Invader's Bane novel but let me tell you I don't think my bad guys are even slightly bad enough after reading this. The Riders in this tale in some ways remind me of the vampire parasites in Bria In some ways The Specimen's concept is very similar to Heinlein's The Puppet Masters. I've always liked the 'disguized threat' story. It lends an air of paranoia to the tale and you're never really sure who is good or bad in that sort of story. Heck I'm currently writing a story of hidden invaders in my Invader's Bane novel but let me tell you I don't think my bad guys are even slightly bad enough after reading this. The Riders in this tale in some ways remind me of the vampire parasites in Brian Lumley's Necroscope story and are just as horrific. I like the way Pete Kahle describes the horrors occuring in this novel. They're very evocative and allow you to really 'see' the horror. It adds to the immersion in the story and increases the stress while reading. I like that this is an epic tale of a threat that spans millenia from the age of the Vikings to Meso-America, and through all of European and American history. It lends a level of gravitas to the threat because the evil has been here so long and is so entrenched you are left wondering how mere mortals could ever overcome it. Imagine parasitic creatures that can meld with your flesh and brain, controlling you but at the same time making you better than a mere human. What if those creatures had sick and twisted aims of their own that ran counter to yours? Can you imagine the horror of being a mere puppet to such a thing? That's what this story speaks about. The action all centers around a single specimen of this invading species that has been locked away for decades and well let's just say that payback, she is a coming. The only problem I had reading this was the jumping back and forth between eras to draw all the events leading up to the finale together. Each break and change is beautifully written, I had no problem understanding why it was done this way but for ME personaly, I've never liked stories that hop from past to present and then to another past etcetera. Maybe if it's just alternating between 2 eras it's not so bad but I had a few too many timelines to keep straight. It just jars my flow and I have trouble keeping track of characters from say 1950 and then 1960 and then realizing that the person who just was stumbled across in present day was the kid they mentioned in that early chapter - ok maybe not that simple of a mistake but I'm making a point of how it confused ME. I know people who thrive on this type of format and they'll probably read this and smack me in the head for being dense. I don't apologize, I just point out that I got myself a bit confused here and there and it pulled me out of the story. Other than that though, it's a really good read. My wife was yelling at me last night that it was way past my normal bedtime - who cares about getting up in time for work, I had a knock down drag out climax to read! And then just when you think it's over, after the denouement has passed and all our heroes and victim's parts in this horror are wrapped up - surprise, there's a reveal that it's far from over. Great way to wrap it up but hit us with a cliff hanger lead in for the next novel. I definitely see myself reading more of this series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nev Murray

    Found this book purely by accident. Pete Kahle had edited an anthology I wanted to get and I saw this by him and decided to give it a go. This is Pete's debut novel. It most certainly will not be his last! This book is about the "Riders". An alien presence on earth. They appear to have been here since the dawn of man and unbeknown to the human population they are spreading. Some Riders are very young. Some have been around for millenia. ACME is a secret organisation tasked with tracking the Rider Found this book purely by accident. Pete Kahle had edited an anthology I wanted to get and I saw this by him and decided to give it a go. This is Pete's debut novel. It most certainly will not be his last! This book is about the "Riders". An alien presence on earth. They appear to have been here since the dawn of man and unbeknown to the human population they are spreading. Some Riders are very young. Some have been around for millenia. ACME is a secret organisation tasked with tracking the Riders and destroying them. In the 1960's some scientists conducted experiments on live subjects and caused the Riders to mutate. This story follows an eclectic mix of people as they struggle against the Riders for their own, and mankinds survival. For this to be a debut novel it is fantastically well written. Found it a bit confusing to begin with when it jumps from present day to different points in history but as the story progresses this all becomes very clear and I ended up enjoying the little visits to the past. It's fast moving from the very first page describing in great detail at times the history of the Riders and how they have developed side by side with mankind. If you are a fan of horror, thriller or sci-fi then this story is for you. All 3 elements come to the fore in this story in equal amounts giving the reader a fast paced thriller with plenty of horror (very graphic at times) (love it!). The characters are crafted again in great detail giving you a perfect insight into their lives and personalities. Each one has their own side story within the main story and they all come together perfectly for the 100mph climax to the end. Pete Kahle has obviously spent a lot of time researching different cultures and events through history to come up with some of his scenarios in the story. This is evident from very early on in the book. It's nice to see as well a novel that is 500+ pages long. Gives you something to get your teeth into. A well deserved 5 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kya Aliana

    Terrifying to its core! Pete Kahle has written a masterful horror story, filled with unpredictable twists and turns of all extremities. There are several plotlines and subplots which was fresh, exciting, and mind-bending! Kahle is not only a great writer, but an incredible storyteller, weaving horrifying images and scenarios deep into the reader's subconscious. This book is absolutely incredible, but not for the faint hearted! This is a true-blue, scare you sh*tless thrill ride of an adventure... Terrifying to its core! Pete Kahle has written a masterful horror story, filled with unpredictable twists and turns of all extremities. There are several plotlines and subplots which was fresh, exciting, and mind-bending! Kahle is not only a great writer, but an incredible storyteller, weaving horrifying images and scenarios deep into the reader's subconscious. This book is absolutely incredible, but not for the faint hearted! This is a true-blue, scare you sh*tless thrill ride of an adventure...and it's only the beginning! I'm an avid reader, especially when it comes to horror. It's hard to find anything that will scare me and make me want to sleep with the lights on, but this book did the trick! The intricate plot kept it interesting, fresh, and exciting the whole way through! This isn't your average horror book - this is an extreme and masterful horror saga! One thing that really stood out was the author's unique style of writing. Every word earned its spot in this book...every sentence fit perfectly...there were no repetitive words or sayings. Kahle is a master at his craft and sure to impress readers with THE SPECIMEN! Many times I had to set the book down for a moment as I sat in awe in his style and gripping tale. Listen to me. Listen closely. This is a book that you will NEVER forget. A book that will grasp you by the shoulders and jerk you in, making you a part of its world. You won't read the pages, you will SEE everything that is happening - the storytelling is THAT good! Buy this book. Do it now. Curl up. Dim the lights. Read. Read. Read! Don't sleep, just read. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Keohane

    This is a sci-fi / horror novel on an epic scale. With a cast of characters spanning modern day back to thousands of years BC, it tells the story of an invasion of parasitic aliens against the human race over the course of history. Mostly, however, the action takes place in modern times, with the discovery of an ancient 'Rider' (the name for the aliens) long hidden away, interspersed with series of flashbacks both at a global and specific-character scale. How the flashback sequences are handled This is a sci-fi / horror novel on an epic scale. With a cast of characters spanning modern day back to thousands of years BC, it tells the story of an invasion of parasitic aliens against the human race over the course of history. Mostly, however, the action takes place in modern times, with the discovery of an ancient 'Rider' (the name for the aliens) long hidden away, interspersed with series of flashbacks both at a global and specific-character scale. How the flashback sequences are handled is interesting, especially for a paperback (the version I read). Kahle takes liberties with fonts and formatting to simulate diary entries, etc, which was quite interesting (though sometimes my aging eyes had trouble with the cursive fonts). The primary characters, interesting enough, are a group of 'men in black' (to steal the phrase) working for a centuries-old organization bent on studying, then eradicating, the aliens - at any cost. This latter attribute makes them pretty nasty characters, and very unlikeable. As well, there are good characters stumbling into this silent war, who need to survive the violence both of the Riders and the organization hunting them down. This is a long book, but the perspectives and scenes change often enough to keep the action moving. The bad guys (on the human side) get more page-time than the good guys, unfortunately, but everything leads to an explosive conclusion between everyone involved. An ambitious debut novel which succeeds despite, or more likely because of, the risks the author takes with turning the genre on its head.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cory Cline

    Aliens possessing humans is always an interesting premise and Pete Kahle does not disappoint in his first novel, The Specimen.He has expertly taken a used and abused idea and taken it to a higher level then its ever been before. An ancient alien species, known as 'riders', have been living among us throughout history, shaping our world. After an urban explorer finds one in a jar while exploring an abandoned mental hospital and sells it to a store that specializes in oddities and unwittingly unlea Aliens possessing humans is always an interesting premise and Pete Kahle does not disappoint in his first novel, The Specimen.He has expertly taken a used and abused idea and taken it to a higher level then its ever been before. An ancient alien species, known as 'riders', have been living among us throughout history, shaping our world. After an urban explorer finds one in a jar while exploring an abandoned mental hospital and sells it to a store that specializes in oddities and unwittingly unleashes it on present day Massachusetts. He also attracts the attention of the good guys... the Acme Corporation. When I say good, I am using that in the broadest sense of the word... As they are only good when compared to the bad guys. Pete bounces through history as if he has his own flux capacitor there next to him in what ever room he writes. He tells a rich history to give his world some legs to stand on, and goes into great detail to really make this book seem believable. His characters were fresh, honest to themselves, and when they were not likable, I despised them! The ending is fast paced, exciting, and rewarding. Cant ask for anything more in a book. The good guys are bad, the bad guys are worse, and the plot keeps the pages turning long after I should have fallen asleep. If you like a little sci-fi with your horror, and enjoy a well developed world to immerse yourself into, get this book. You'll be glad you did.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I received a copy directly from the author on this one, and I had it flagged on my to read list for a while as the premise sounded interesting. For a first time author, this rocks! Thanks Pete, looking forward to another installment there. Important note - this is NOT a cliffhanger ending, just leaves room for future expansion. Some of the scenes were exceptionally graphic and not for the faint of heart. I was not expecting such vivid detail. The interludes showing the past history of the riders I received a copy directly from the author on this one, and I had it flagged on my to read list for a while as the premise sounded interesting. For a first time author, this rocks! Thanks Pete, looking forward to another installment there. Important note - this is NOT a cliffhanger ending, just leaves room for future expansion. Some of the scenes were exceptionally graphic and not for the faint of heart. I was not expecting such vivid detail. The interludes showing the past history of the riders was interesting and handled well when merged into the 'today' story. There was a lot of jumping between the characters, which made it exceptionally hard getting a handle on the them and caring about them til over the mid way point. Be warned though, at the 3/4 mark there is no way to just set this down. There are a few unanswered questions left there for me, such as how the riders, Elders especially, have not been truly discovered when they are really out there in plain sight. I would also like to know more about the Cluster, and how it was able to evolve the way it did. As an avid sci fi horror reader, mark this author as one to keep an eye on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mkittysamom

    Awesome book! It was long but I couldn't stop reading about the strange Alien species that historically had been under earth's nose until a recent accident/suicide brought out a mystery. Also the cat lady, whose son explores abandoned building, brought in a "specimen" to the freaky curiosity shop. All the separate characters in the story all weave together seamlessly! This was a well thought out story, and I feel it was complete! So many books these days end in cliffhangers, or have sequels...bu Awesome book! It was long but I couldn't stop reading about the strange Alien species that historically had been under earth's nose until a recent accident/suicide brought out a mystery. Also the cat lady, whose son explores abandoned building, brought in a "specimen" to the freaky curiosity shop. All the separate characters in the story all weave together seamlessly! This was a well thought out story, and I feel it was complete! So many books these days end in cliffhangers, or have sequels...but The Specimen is a complete package! I really enjoyed it and the "riders" freaked me out a little! The hero was a surprise as well! I loved the little history lessons in between chapters about the aliens and the quotes for each chapter! I highlighted most of the book lol! It was a joy to read, fun to be scared and a nonstop remarkable journey in Kahle's world! Well done, this book will be in my favorites !

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Hanham

    The Specimen by Pete Kahle is an all around awesome science fiction/horror novel and some chapters really got my adrenaline pumping! Pete does a great job at creating a parasitic alien species known as "Riders" which are more complex than they seem at first. Also, the characters in the story are all unique from each other and have conflicting views about what should be done about the Rider epidemic. The only problems I had with the book was that sometimes you wouldn't see a certain character for The Specimen by Pete Kahle is an all around awesome science fiction/horror novel and some chapters really got my adrenaline pumping! Pete does a great job at creating a parasitic alien species known as "Riders" which are more complex than they seem at first. Also, the characters in the story are all unique from each other and have conflicting views about what should be done about the Rider epidemic. The only problems I had with the book was that sometimes you wouldn't see a certain character for so long that you would have forgotten about them, that and there were a few minor editing problems I noticed but it's no big deal for me as Pete still delivers the same strong point. Overall I give the book 4.5 out of 5 stars because of those reasons but just because it's not five stars doesn't mean that it's not one of the best books I have ever read! P.S: Now I get to brag to my friends that my uncle wrote a novel!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Wow, where to begin. This is not just any book. This is not an easy reader book. This book is one where you have to think and remember things from the first page to the last. It has suspense, drama, murder, mayhem, malevolent creatures called riders who use human hosts as their steeds. It takes you into the past to better understand what a rider is. It takes you to present day where riders are still riding their steeds. But there's an underlying plot where scientists want to change the rider. I Wow, where to begin. This is not just any book. This is not an easy reader book. This book is one where you have to think and remember things from the first page to the last. It has suspense, drama, murder, mayhem, malevolent creatures called riders who use human hosts as their steeds. It takes you into the past to better understand what a rider is. It takes you to present day where riders are still riding their steeds. But there's an underlying plot where scientists want to change the rider. I was fascinated from beginning to end. Yeppers, definitely a page turner. Not saying much more except there's going to be a sequel. Not a shabby first novel but one that will haunt you until the sequel. So my friends.......THIS IS MY BODY. Read the book and you'll understand.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    I really wish 1/2 stars were available, I would up my rating to 3 1/2. A fun read, very descriptive but it could use a good editor, while there weren't any misspellings there were quite a few redundant and/or unnecessary phrases used throughout the book which were just awkward enough to pull me out of story land for a moment. One example - "Now that we're finally back together we can finally do what you were planning..." There was also quite a bit of jumping around between time periods and chara I really wish 1/2 stars were available, I would up my rating to 3 1/2. A fun read, very descriptive but it could use a good editor, while there weren't any misspellings there were quite a few redundant and/or unnecessary phrases used throughout the book which were just awkward enough to pull me out of story land for a moment. One example - "Now that we're finally back together we can finally do what you were planning..." There was also quite a bit of jumping around between time periods and characters that was a bit hard to follow but usually I was able to figure out what was going on within a few sentences. A respectable first novel, though, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debra Slonek

    Imagine a group of parasitic, teratoma aliens who roamed earth since the beginning of recorded history. The Riders were responsible for influencing some of the most vile and influential leaders in history. The Steeds were the unfortunate humans who were forced to share their bodies and minds with the Riders. To round out the cast of characters, there was a secret group of vigilantes whose sole purpose was to bring about the extinction of the Riders. The descriptive writing was filled with much gor Imagine a group of parasitic, teratoma aliens who roamed earth since the beginning of recorded history. The Riders were responsible for influencing some of the most vile and influential leaders in history. The Steeds were the unfortunate humans who were forced to share their bodies and minds with the Riders. To round out the cast of characters, there was a secret group of vigilantes whose sole purpose was to bring about the extinction of the Riders. The descriptive writing was filled with much gore and violence. While this book was ambitious and imaginative, it had too much vastness. A vast cast of characters covered a vast period of time with much jumping back and forth in time. The vastness issues made it difficult to follow the plot at times. Ambitious? Yes. An easy read? No.

  28. 5 out of 5

    The Behrg

    It's books like these that get me excited about the self-publishing revolution. Pete Kahle writes with a confidence few traditionally published authors ever achieve. Each of the multitude of characters he introduces are living, breathing entities, and based on the structure of the novel and his sharp prose, one would never suspect this is a debut novel. The world he has created, while borrowing from some of the greats before him, is at the same time unique and spell-binding. If you're a horror f It's books like these that get me excited about the self-publishing revolution. Pete Kahle writes with a confidence few traditionally published authors ever achieve. Each of the multitude of characters he introduces are living, breathing entities, and based on the structure of the novel and his sharp prose, one would never suspect this is a debut novel. The world he has created, while borrowing from some of the greats before him, is at the same time unique and spell-binding. If you're a horror fan, put this on your "must read" list. Quite an achievement and a landmark read in my book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    An intelligent alien parasite that uses a human host reminiscent of Puppet Masters and Bodysnatchers. A good story. I enjoyed it. There will be a sequel, but I have qualms about sequels. The original is at least somewhat fresh in its approach. Is the sequel written because the reader enjoyed the concept so much that he doesn't want it to end so more is written, or is there something new to be said; perhaps a little of both? Nevertheless, I have read many sequels--some enjoyable, some less so.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The Specimen was a very complex, twisted tale jumping back and forth in time. I kept wondering how Pete was going to tie all his plots together. Obviously it was the Rider that did this. I loved the quotes that Kahle used to begin each chapter. I will be looking forward to see where the Rider will continue his journey on Earth, and how many other people it will corrupt. However, no pages numbers drove me crazy. Was that done on purpose?

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.