Friday, October 27, 2023

The Kill

New York native Alan Ryan (1943-2011) graduated from Regis High School in Manhattan and from Fordham University in The Bronx. He was an English teacher, book reviewer, and later an editor. In his writing career, he produced at least five horror novels and three short-story collections. My first experience with his literary work is the novel The Kill, which was originally published in paperback by Tor in 1982. 

The book begins with a nine year old girl running away from home during a storm. Readers learn that she is on the outskirts of the small town of Deacon's Kill. Something grabs and jerks her head, creating instant death. Then, whoever or whatever killed the girl moves back into the forest. End scene. But, unfortunately the book continues. 

A couple named Megan and Jack work and live in Manhattan and are tiring of their hectic schedules. They are invited by a friend to visit a farm in Deacon's Kill, a sort of all-night party involving another 30 or 40 city yuppies. At the farm, a woman is murdered by this same unknown person or thing when she ventures too far into the forest to urinate. The murder (and urination) is caught on tape by a voyeur/party participant and presented to the local sheriff. The odd thing is that who, or whatever this thing is, was completely invisible. Like the book's plot. 

Megan and Jack, in their infinite wisdom, decide that this farm – which just hosted a murder by an invisible monster in the forest – is an ideal place for them to move to. WTF! They both quit their jobs and move into this ordinary run-of-the-mill farm house in the middle of nowhere. They befriend the sheriff and everything seems fantastic (read that as mundane and lifeless) for the next 250 pages of this horrific 294 page paperback. The couple make love, establish new businesses, have dinner with the sheriff and his wife, make friends with the town doctor, and engage in mindless, completely dull antics for a painful amount of pages. Just when my knuckles were white from anger, something finally happens. 

Apparently, the former owner of the farm dug up some old bones that resembled a prehistoric man. How the man is now alive, invisible, and is able to track all over the forest without anyone noticing isn't relevant, so no real explanation is offered (or I slept through it). Instead, you have the girl at the beginning of the book and the chick at the party as the only main victims while the sheriff watches endless loops of the VHS tape that captured the one piss/murder. The rest of the novel is just a complete waste of time and I wish I could erase it from the annals of time. 

If I'm locked in a room by a maniac and forced to watch endless Medicare commercials or read this pass the popcorn and crank the tube up. I'd do just about anything to avoid the literary nightmare of Alan Ryan's The Kill. So should you.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

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