22 April 2013

Review: Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke

Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke

Published: 25 October 2011

Pages: 276 (paperback)

Genre/s: Horror

Source: Own library


On a scorching hot summer day in Elkwood, Alabama, Claire Lambert staggers naked, wounded, and half-blind away from the scene of an atrocity. She is the sole survivor of a nightmare that claimed her friends, and even as she prays for rescue, the killers — a family of cannibalistic lunatics — are closing in.

A soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder returns from Iraq to the news that his brother is among the murdered in Elkwood.

In snowbound Detroit, a waitress trapped in an abusive relationship gets an unexpected visit that will lead to bloodshed and send her back on the road to a past she has spent years trying to outrun.

And Claire, the only survivor of the Elkwood Massacre, haunted by her dead friends, dreams of vengeance... a dream which will be realized as grief and rage turn good people into cold-blooded murderers and force alliances among strangers.

It's time to return to Elkwood.

In the spirit of such iconic horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance, Kin begins at the end and studies the possible aftermath for the survivors of such traumas upon their return to the real world — the guilt, the grief, the thirst for revenge — and sets them on an unthinkable journey... back into the heart of darkness.

My Thoughts

I'm an unashamed comfort-reader.  When I'm feeling tired and or stressed, I turn to a genre that I know can shock me, entertain me, and make me feel a little nauseous.  Yep, I read horror novels for comfort.  And this is exactly why I picked up Kin - it's about cannibals people, it's going to be shocking, nauseating and hopefully entertaining, right?

But Kin gave me more than I bargained for - it is undoubtedly a horror novel with creepy characters and stomach-churning moments, but it is also an incredibly well-written novel - the language is almost lyrical and incredibly descriptive.   At moments I felt like I was in a literary fiction novel, and others like I was in a slasher-movie - and I loved it.

The characters themselves are not easy to get to know, nor really to like.  Claire is obviously and understandably damaged by her experiences at the hands of the cannibal family living in backwoods Alabama and that is the center of her world - there's very little else of her personality that comes through.    The other 'good' characters play their part in the story, but apart from the young man that rescues Claire, I didn't find any of them particularly memorable.

The cannibal family on the other hand were creepy as fuck - and yes, they are religious nuts to boot.  The only thing I would have liked a little more of would have been to find out more about their pasts and backgrounds, although the mothers' is explained towards the end of the book, I was so curious as to how they met and became nutsoid killers.

I was a little disappointed by the ending of Kin, although it was intense and fitting, it felt a little bit rushed, and I wished there had been more confrontation and revelation (yeah, I just wanted more GORY STUFF!) between Claire, the other characters and the family.

Kin really surprised me in many ways, and if you enjoy intense horror that is excellently written, you should definitely consider picking up a copy.


  1. Oooooh a good horror book! I'm always on the look-out for those (I too watch and read the genre for comfort --- what does that say about us???). I have a feeling this would make a FANTASTIC film given the right director. I'd put my money on Eli Roth or Rob Zombie for this one. It's a bit like the movie The Strangers crossed with some Stephen King. I totally dig it!

  2. I love a good horror novel when I'm in the mood for a comfort read. This one sounds like it might just be my next horror read!
    - Kimberly @ Turning the Pages



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