Book review – Road Kills by Isaac Thorne

Book review – Road Kills by Isaac Thorne

‘Right now you are safe. You can comfort yourself by reading this book while curled up on your bed or in your favorite chair. Just don’t forget about what’s waiting for you just beyond the edge of your driveway.’ Road Kills is a selection of tales written over a period of time that happen to share a common element, the road, which author Isaac Thorne finally brought together in this rather marvellous volume – including a nice little write up at the end about how this all came to pass. I like that sort of thing. Isaac describes his work as a collection of dark comic horror but it’s got more going on than that – not that I’m averse to a giggle and I appreciated those moments, but it’s also thoughtful and there’s sophistication alongside the slapstick.  If all that sounds like suspiciously high praise from one who has been known to torch unsatisfactory work of her own and dance round it, there was a wee niggle – but that was a matter of personal taste. The opening story ‘Because Reasons’ features an especially perky female of the sort that a down to earth northern bird like me just really wants to kick very hard in the shin. For those not familiar with my sort, think Susan Sto Helit in the Hogfather.  “What have I told you about trying to sound ingratiatingly cute, Twyla?” she said. The little girl said, “You said I mustn’t. You said that exaggerated lisping is a hanging offense and I only do it to get attention.” Terry Pratchett.  Anyway.  In ‘Dislike’, a man’s social media meltdown over the loss of a job and a relationship was horribly familiar – fuelled by rage and beer, his rant spirals out of control and his online friends are faced with a dilemma we’ve all faced by now, to continue to laugh along or draw a line based on their own assessment of what’s really going on. It highlights both the immediacy of interaction and the lack of meaningful communication that exists within these platforms and Isaac plays the various characters very well.  ‘Hoppers’ creased me up – beware the bunnies ! Having encountered a number of long ears in my time (including one enormous white rabbit that had the sanctuary staff quoting Monty Python for weeks), I can testify that a fuzzy butt hell bent on your destruction can be a surprisingly terrifying thing.  In ‘Safety First’ everything comes together -his first venture into sci fi, we have a love triangle, off world exploration, murder, some seriously bad weather and an alien lifeform/space zombie thing going on, all in the space of a few pages. It’s honest, scary, sarcastic, in the moment and I loved it. Then the author completely switches direction with the next story.  That, I think, is my main reason for recommending this one – whatever your particular taste in horror, there’s something in this book for you. Grab your own copy of Road Kills and dig in !