Red Station by Kenzie Jennings book review
Splatter Western – it is a term that is new to me, a subgenre of Horror that pretty much spells out what to expect from books written under its banner. Death’s Head Press has released a series of books tied under the theme, and I read Kenzie’s book first because I’d read it was a good example of the genre, and also because it’s Women In Horror month (let’s make it “Year”, please, anyone?).
Jennings did a great job of setting up the plot, basically a survivor’s story, with a great bunch of antagonists – I was bound to love the family of German murderers – not least because I needed no translation of their German, but also because mixing in languages from other cultures validates the alienness of how it sounds. It was lovely to read and made me almost want the bad guys to win, or if not to win, to lose painfully, giving as good as they got, which they did, graphically, nastily, and with pleasure.
“Splatter” is the key-word here and tells you straight away how graphic the gore was. Kenzie did a great job of keeping it realistic, the violence is professionally written, observed and executed. But the book works so well not because of the gore but is correctly sold on the badass characterization of its lead female protagonist. It is way past time that we read more female leads stepping up to the plate, and not having to “become” badass because situations force them to be so – No, Clyde (that took a while to get used to, I have only known male Clydes) is bad-ass anyway. She is both empowering and liberating – and Kenzie gives her some great one-liners reminiscent of hardcore action/horror films.
This is a book to breeze through easily in a day. You aren’t going to stop turning the pages, the flow and the investment are real, living breathing things. You want to know just how inventive Clyde is going to get. You want to know where the hell the big dumb German is. You want to see how warped the sisters are, and the twist at the end is satisfyingly brutally executed. Take that, you piece of shit. No mercy. No fade to black. It’s in your face, full-screen HD horror fiction that isn’t going to shut up anytime soon. Thankfully.
This was a blast.
Damn it, Death’s head. This is turning from a hobby into a mortgage. I might have to give up biscuits for a while to afford the other six.
Kenzie, it was a pleasure.