Bats by William W Johnstone #BookReview



Bats by William W Johnstone is kind of a hoot. On the one hand it’s terrible – clichéd, aggressively and obnoxiously political, and frequently ridiculous. On the other, Johnstone is clearly having such a good time writing it that it’s hard not to get swept up in his enthusiasm.

The plot centres around a small town in southern USA that is plagued by a swam of bats. HUGE, SUPER INTELLIGENT, FLESH-EATING, RABID, MUTANT VAMPIRE BATS. That’s probably all you need to know. But Johnstone also throws in a satanic cult and a super tough ex-military hero. If this was a movie Steven Seagal would be the star. Oh, and there are killer pigs too.

None of it really makes sense, but the story rattles along at such a rate and there is so much violence that it’s generally a load of fun. What gets in the way a bit at times is Johnstone’s habit of letting his conservative politics overwhelm the story. This is a book where experts and judges are all shifty and stand in the way of common sense. Common sense being guns as the correct answer to most problems. Even worse are Johnstone’s attempts at humour which are unfunny at best and offensive at worse. There’s one long running joke about an argument between a white supremacist and a black rights activist which is utterly bizarre.

But at the end of the day this is a dumb horror novel and it’s hard to get too upset by its flaws. Taken as a b-movie creature feature it’s a success. Johnstone certainly doesn’t seem to be taking himself too seriously and I don’t think he wanted the reader to have anything other than a good time. It’s a dumb but fun thriller that’s told with so much energy and enthusiasm that I found it impossible not to enjoy.

Video Review

Book Details

Title: Bats | Author: William W Johnstone | Publisher: Zebra | Pages: 348 | Publication date: 1st June 1993 | ISBN: 9780821741900 | Source: Purchased


A frightening tale about a swarm of vampire bats that have developed a taste for human blood–from bestselling author Johnstone (Watchers in the Woods). The great black cloud of terror appeared one evening in the southern U.S. –first hundreds and then thousands. No one knows how to stop the deadly shadows, but someone has to find a way.


Content Warnings: Animal cruelty, racism, homophobia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: