Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Book Review: Should have killed the Kid by R. Frederick Hamilton
Should Have Killed The Kid by R. Frederick Hamilton
$12.95 Legume Man Books
OK let me say off the bat that the marketing and exterior look of this book had me scratching my head. The cover is a pretty looking take on the Melbourne (Australia) skyline engulfed in flames. This where a good portion of the book takes place. That is not the curious part, inside the cover is four blurbs and I know that is far from weird. Except that two of the blurbs were straight up bad reviews that almost scared me out of reading the book. It was a free review book so I kept going. The book has no description to draw me in either, All it says on the back of the book is “Fuck...”
Which is what the main character says when faced with most unpleasant situations. This book is filled to the brim with very unpleasant situations, but if your a fan of good creepy unsettling horror fiction then that is what you are looking for. I am thinking that Legume Man thought your reading experience would be better served if you didn't have any clue what the plot was to spoil the surprises.
I am not sure I agree with that thinking, but reguard less it is an excellent horror novel, that builds amazing amounts of tension and suspense throughout. If you trust my opinion stop reading this review and just get your hands on the book. If you still need more convincing and think a little plot description is needed before you invest well read on.
Should have killed the Kid is a supernatural Apocalypse thriller which has both Lovecraftian vibe (without direct connection to the mythos) and an extreme horror feel. At first I thought of it as Stephen King's The Mist with A Quentin Tarantino structure, but after the first 100 pages the structure smoothes out into a linear fashion. The book is structured and patterned for maximum suspense that left me with only a few nitpicks.
The main character is named Dave, when we meet him he is hiding with a group of survivors after creatures referred to as the Claw of the Shadows have appeared over Australia and begun to erase humanity and it's vast civilization from the earth. So what makes Dave so interesting? The people hiding with him don't know it, but Dave caused the whole thing to happen.
The novel then takes us back to the time, when Dave failed to act on the a duty which would have prevented the whole thing from happening. Judging from the title you may have figured out that Dave was supposed to kill a child.
The more pure the heart of the sacrifice the more happy the claw of the shadow will be. So we are set up for an adventure to sacrafice the right kid, at the right place and end the mess.
This a excellent example of how independent publishing brings us interesting and original horror fiction. I am very happy I read this book, I think serious horror fans will like it. My only nitpicks are to do with the ending. Towards the end I lacked sympathy for the boy, and I thought the child Dave had to sacrafice could have had a little more dimensions to him. It would have made the ending more tense and suspensful. Also the book is set up for a sequel that I didn't really feel completely sold on.
Should Have Killed the kid was a pleasant surprise for me. I always say that great suspense novels feel like climbing a very tall unstable ladder. And that is what I felt like I was doing when I read this novel. Thumbs up.