by Alan Baxter
Let’s start with the cover. It’s one that personally gets me excited. It’s reminiscent of a time that predates when I was not quite old enough to appreciate the pulp horror scene. I don’t know of any other story that involves a killer kangaroo, and even if there is one out there, I very much doubt they have the spin on it like Alan Baxter’s.
It’s full of blood and carnage within a small Australian town. Seriously…it’s a blood bath. The Roo has some of the most unique death scenes I’ve ever read. I hope this novella is picked up and turned into a movie. I can’t even imagine how much fun it would be to watch this!
For those of you unaware, this idea started as a joke. Alan covered the history of that pretty well, and I’m sure plenty of other reviewers did too, so let’s carry on. This book played out to me on a few different levels. The first, as a pure reader of horror. If I took the character named after me out, it doesn’t lessen the fun I had with this. It’s good. It’s REALLY good. It’s short enough where some of you—not this slow-reader—will be able to devour it in one sitting. It took me a few days, which is fast for me. So there’s the pure horror reader level checked off.
Now, the next level, the reviewer within the horror community level. The character names in this book are named after people scattered throughout the indie horror community. They’re reviewers, authors, and all really friendly horror lovers. I loved it. Some of the traits rang true, a few in particular: Kealan Patrick Burke looking like a movie star (he does…that suave handsome son of a bitch), a particular thing that Sadie Hartmann’s character does, and of course, Jim McLeod and the mention of his magnificent ginger beard (don’t piss that man off…don’t even piss his character off). Of course, none of this will hit home with you if you don’t know the people I’m talking about. Which is a good segue to the third and final level.
I am in fact not an old Australian farmer. Before I read this, Alan told me I was kind of the main character, and I think you can make a good case for that. So level three, the reading a character named after you. I’m honored, I think it was very cool, and it was a first for me. There was one line in there that makes me wonder if Alan climbed into my head and read how I felt about Burke, though.
Kealan had something of a movie star look about him, Pat always thought.
Again, he’s a suave, hansom son of a bitch…Google his name if you don’t know what he looks like.
I found The Roo to be such a fun blood-bath-over-the-top read. There’s plenty of black comedy in this, interlaced with moments of “what the fuck did I just read?”. It was my first book by Baxter, and he shows all the signs of a seasoned author that’s worth exploring his back catalogue. My wife and I (Tara, not Sheila, hehe) have a dream vacation spot, and have for years. Want to guess where that is?
Bingo. Australia. Let’s hope Baxter didn’t curse me and my loved ones if I ever am lucky enough to travel down under.
I’m adapting Jason Cavallaro’s rating system A through F, with A being the best. I don’t care for the 1-5 star system.
I give this book an A.
Review by Patrick R. McDonough
I received an e-copy of this book from the author for review consideration.