by Kealan Patrick Burke
I wish I’d written this ...
... because ... it ... is ... BRUTAL!
Pretty much every character in this novel is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are widows, widowers and orphans, victims of domestic violence, abused children, war veterans, and—principally—a young woman who escaped from a family of cannibalistic sadists (though she left some bits of herself behind). Even without the graphic rape and torture, this would be a savage story ... with them, it's hellish. It's also brilliant. Kealan Patrick Burke has done something truly exceptional here. He's taken the movie genre that had its inception with DELIVERANCE and which perhaps reached its apogee with THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and he's transformed it from sheer bloody spectacle into a tale with depth and meaning. Yes, it's grim, but it makes you think about human endurance, about how suffering can extend to people not directly involved, and about how revenge, rather than being motivated by a need for justice, can be driven by the yearning of victims to re-assert some sense of themselves. I envy the skill it takes to inject such significance into hacking and slashing!