My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Estranged siblings Ray and Eric Kuttner find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. With a painful past hanging over their heads, and vengeance to dish out, they struggle with their brotherly relationship whilst being forced to protect themselves against an insane clan of flesh eaters. Being hunted down like animals was not the plan; they were to be the hunters. The only thing they can do is try to turn things around, and guns will undoubtedly help.
(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Matt Kurtz for giving me the opportunity.
Where to start? Well, at the start.
I imagined that the beginning of this book was akin to being shoved head-first down a ravine – there was no going back, there was more than little discomfort, and the question of why would you do this to me was entirely appropriate. For some the very first chapter of Kinfolk will prove difficult to read; the topic of rape is one that I personally find upsetting. It won’t put me off a novel, but if explicit then I’ll probably have to put it down for a while and focus on something else. That’s exactly what I had to do in this instance. It occurred to me later on that Kurtz made the decision to put the most horrific scene – for it was the only scene of its kind to involve sexual abuse – at the very start. It never reached that level of unpleasantness again, focusing more on action and gore for the remainder. It’s certainly a decision that could be considered brave.
The generous amount of violence that ensued throughout the majority of the book was at times amusing, and other times, thrilling. Kurtz was able to switch up the plot a great deal, resulting in a number of challenges the “heroes” had to overcome: a car chase, to a siege scenario that came together with flawless transition. Suffice it to say, I was entertained and impressed by how the writing was able to adapt. At no point did I have trouble envisioning the events, and that’s coming from someone who often has to re-read passages that are heavy with action.
The backwoods setting with the cannibalistic family obviously brings to mind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and similar works, but I feel that it set itself apart from the typical plot involving helpless young adults. Ray and Eric were characters that had already fought through their fair share of tribulations, and the individuals they were molded into were far from innocent. I prefer it when protagonists are flawed, and I enjoy it immensely when the predator and prey aspect isn’t so straight forward. The relationship and history of these siblings was something I definitely found to be a strength. When all was said and done, I felt genuine sadness – I appreciate when such emotions are evoked, as it means I was a hundred percent invested.
In conclusion: A fast-moving tale of survival, Kinfolk was exciting and addictive. I felt desperate to reach the end, as I was dying to know the final outcome. I’d not hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who relishes the chaotic backwoods, cannibal trope, yet it’s my opinion that this one offers a depth that many of its kind lacks.
The horror was finally brought into the light… up close and personal.
© Red Lace 2019