Sunday, August 1, 2021

KIN by Kealan Patrick Burke

We all have seen those horror movies. The ones where a crazy hillbilly family in the middle of nowhere terrorize and torture visitors until one or two of them manage to escape? This book focuses on the aftermath, on the survivor: that “final girl,” and others affected in different ways by the trauma. It also focuses on the relatives of the deceased (including a former soldier with PTSD) and the young kid that helps to bring the girl to safety. It also looks at the killers themselves: a family of cannibals that are all the more scary because they feel like they’re doing God’s work. 

The book is a violent and compelling examination of retribution, vengeance, and survivor's guilt. It questions whether there's even a possibility of "moving on" for all those involved and whether or not more violence is really the answer to that question. I could tell that Kealan Patrick Burke got a lot more polished as a writer since this earlier novel because there are many times in the book where the prose felt pretty long-winded and overwritten; not as efficient as his later work. But this work is pretty brave, going places that I never thought the story would go without ever feeling forced.


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