I've been following Bryan Smith since his first Leisure release - House of Blood (2001) - and have yet to be disappointed by the sheer imagination and utter brutality that this man is capable of writing. The stories that he writes vary from the supernatural to the more hard edged, real life fare, but always have a level of violence and depravity not met by many (save for Wrath James White). With his latest, you can rest assured that he's reached a new level of extreme that will surely make him a household name with the mass market genre fans, and hopefully more.
To the spoiled rich kids on spring break, the rented beach house seemed like the perfect setting for partying, drinking and, fooling around. The neighbors wouldn’t be able to hear their music. But the unhinged killers about to crash the party think the house is perfect too—the neighbors won’t be able to hear the screams. And there will be much more blood flowing than booze. One by one as the night of terror wears on, the college friends will learn the gruesome results of meeting a very different kind of people… The Killing Kind
Now, I generally love my horror to be brutal, nasty, and unrelenting - y'all should know that by now. Smith's writing has always given me what I need in that respect, so I didn't expect anything new with this one.
I was wrong. Really wrong.
The Killing Kind is a new breed of brutal, and a whole shit-ton of whoop ass when compared to the rest of the market.
The characters are tight - and they need to be in order to be able to pull off the destruction that Smith envisions for them. When he writes about a woman that you're supposed to find sexy, you have no choice but to find her sexy. It just so happens that most of Smith's female characters are presented in a way that they're both sexy and dangerous as all hell. The folks that pepper this fine tale are no different. All the ladies are lovely, and all the men are played straight and narrow. From the get go you know who to like and who to dislike.
I find that, with Smith's work, it's not about the people involved, but the journey they're on. And oh, what a journey this is. The reader will find themselves somewhat uncomfortable, and feeling as if they're a party to the crimes and violence described on the page.
The fact that Smith delivers the action whilst his characters are on a road trip will also explain why you'll feel tired and spent at the end of the book. It's exhausting trying to keep up with the unrelenting chaos and madness, but Smith's intimidating skill with words keeps you glued to the page in a way that you'll find you only spend a day or two reading the book. I can assure you though, that you'll come out feeling every bump and bruise that his victims did. Maybe even more.
This is a visceral and nasty book reminiscent of early Jack Ketchum and Shaun Hutson. If you're a fan of in-your-face, personal, and very real horror - make sure you grab any (or all) of Bryan Smith's books. You will not be disappointed.
Check him out on facebook, follow the shit out of him on blogspot and Twitter, and join the discussions on his forum - hosted on Brian Keene's The Keendom (registration required).
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