Tuesday 11 October 2016

REVIEW: Rich Hawkins - King Carrion - Review #2

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Horror Company
Publication Date: 17th Sept 2016
Pages: 132


A copy of King Carrion was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Horror Company in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Getting back into the spirit of posting multiple reviews for the same books, Confessions gives you the second review of King Carrion by Rich Hawkins.

Tonight’s review is brought to you by Alex Kimmell:

If you’re a fan of horror fiction, chances are pretty good that you’ve read at least a couple of books about vampires and zombies. You’ve seen the movies, television shows and maybe even flipped through the overabundance of comic books out there. You are familiar with the end of the world tropes where all of us humans are scraped from the face of the Earth like so many crumbs from a plate of chocolate chip cookies. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, or even the moon.

However, there are a certain, special few who divert from these well-worn, shadowed paths just enough to impress new footprints in the muddy diversion of a fresh trail.

Rich Hawkins is one such tour guide on the terrifying journey through his new book, King Carrion. Relentless in pace, the nightmare begins on page one and refuses to let up until the final sentence. Small town horror yarns with demonic hordes descending over the population have obviously been spun before. But with his unique vision angling a finely focused lens through the devastating and often heart-breaking circumstance, Hawkins commands your attention with never ceasing action.

Personally, I have grown weary with the tsunami of hangers on riding the coattails of The Walking Dead, World War Z and other Hollywood-ized apocalyptic fictions. The majority of genre books lately are regurgitations of the same trope patterns. Reading King Carrion has given me hope that there are still new stories to tell if the authors are brave enough.

Being an avid reader of horror fiction, out of habit I took the book to bed with me for some night reading. Big mistake. Not many things frighten me to the point of losing sleep. King Carrion crawled down the stairs with me in the middle of the night, peered over my shoulder in the bathroom mirror and traced its icy fingers up and down my spine. Every shadow hid dagger teeth, fire red eyes and ancient tattered bandages.

Unlike what I expected, this is an extremely atypical vampire legend. Hawkins’ creatures are not romanticized in any way, shape or form. King Carrion is a uniquely crafted monster who is brutal in physical violence in amounts equal to his emotional depredation. Sifting through the gory blood and viscera, there is a vast amount of heart in this story. Love plays perhaps the largest role in its cast, heartbreak painting agonizing strokes across the canvass of our protagonist’s journey. We eagerly follow him from the beginning, wholly understanding his skilfully implied history. At once distant and intimate, we know the story without needing details fogged over by the past.

Once the real meat of the book is chewed, that emotional context is not simply washed down by the gore and removed from the plate. Every morsel is flavored by it. It is the underlying taste of every swallow. The entire meal is elevated to a new level. The violence is made all the more brutal. The inhumanity more depraved. After all, if there is no emotional investment, why bother to continue reading something so powerfully unnerving?

This is my first reading of a book by Mr. Hawkins and it will most certainly not be the last. Fortunately, he has several others available and I eagerly anticipate what lies between their covers. If anything is similar to King Carrion, I know I’ll have to prepare myself for the brutal rides ahead of me.

If you are looking for something to keep you hiding under the covers with all the lights on, a book with familiar monsters made fresh and new, a story that will make your heart race as well as break, King Carrion is a great read. He may not be a name you have heard mentioned much, but don’t be surprised if Rich Hawkins starts becoming all too familiar very soon.

General rating:


Reviewed by Alex Kimmell

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy King Carrion or any other books from Rich. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

In a town in southern England, people are going missing.

Mason, a homeless ex-con, arrives in the town to beg his wife for a second chance and atone for past mistakes.

A vampire god once worshipped by ancient Britons has awoken from hibernation and plans to turn Great Britain into a vampire isle. But first, people of the town must be converted, and the gospel spread.

Within a week, the town is quarantined by the military, and the nights belong to the undead.

There will be no escape for the survivors.


Rich Hawkins hails from deep in the West Country, where a childhood of science fiction and horror films set him on the path to writing his own stories. He credits his love of horror and all things weird to his first viewing of John Carpenter's THE THING. His debut novel THE LAST PLAGUE was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel in 2015. The sequel, THE LAST OUTPOST, was released in the autumn of 2015.

The final novel in the trilogy, THE LAST SOLDIER, was released in March 2016.

And for more about Rich, visit his site or find him on social media:

Website – Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads - Amazon Page

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