Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Claire Lambert and her three friends crossed the paths of some murderous cannibal hillbillies while hiking in Alabama, their lives were destroyed forever. Claire lost her friends, her virginity, a few fingers, and her eye. But the Merrill family made one mistake: they let Claire live...
You know, when a book starts with a mutilated woman staggering along the side of the road, you know shit is only going to get worse. And it does.
Kin is a gore-strewn tale of depravity and a twisted notion of family. The Merrills kill and eat any outsider that dares cross their path. When Claire escapes, they go into panic mode looking for her. Meanwhile, people swoop down on the Merrills looking for vengeance. How could anything possibly go wrong?
The Merrills are some of the vilest villains I've ever encountered, kind of like Leatherface's family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The thing that really makes them scary is that they think God is on their side.
Once Claire gets to the hospital, the book splits into three threads that never quite come together. Thomas Finch and a friend from the army go gunning for the Merrills. Pete goes looking for a place to belong now that his father is dead. And Claire looks for a way to return to Elkwood and get some payback.
Oddly enough, the character I found most interesting was Luke Merrill, one of the villains. While loyal to his family, he has a lot of doubts about things, doubts that escalate after his father does some things to him.
Some of the plotting felt a little too convenient at first, although KPB set me straight on those. The ending wasn't what I expected but I still liked it. It was actually a nice change of pace from where I thought was going to happen, although it wasn't entirely satisfying.
Maybe it was the jet lag but I didn't think this book quite came together in the end for me. I still liked it but I think some parts could have been expanded a bit. I like my horror short but this was a little too short, I think.
At the end of the day, I liked Kin but I don't love it. Still, it should appeal to people who enjoy things like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cabin Fever, and The Hills Have Eyes. Three out of Five stars.
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