Book Review: True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik

I have been on a tear reading through some contemporary horror fiction. I have been making my way through the catalogs of Brian Keene, Wesley Southard, and Adam Cesare. As I’ve continued along my journey I noticed a lot of people talking about a new horror novel called True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik. I wanted to see what the hype was about so I decided to snag myself a copy and give it a read. I am glad I did!

This novella tells the story of Suzy and her brother Lim as they spend their days shortly after killing their abusive mother. The journey continues to delve into depravity as thins just get worse and worse for the siblings who begin to amass a body count.

There’s a lot to be impressed by with Kolesnik’s literary debut. One thing she does extremely well is using just the right amount of detail to elicit emotion from the reader. Reading the details of the abuse young Suzy experienced at the hands of her mother was something that nearly made me sick to my stomach. Though on a smaller scale, it definitely reminded me of something you’d read from J.F. Gonzalez or Jack Ketchum. The brutality continues on after the abuse as the readers are treated to the hellish crime spree committed by the kin.

One of the things I like the most about this book is just how uncomfortable it made me feel. In the beginning you really feel for Suzy because of the treatment she endures. You even kind of get over the fact that she killed her mother. But following her through her spiral into sociopathy, you realize that Suzy just isn’t a wayward teenager who did what she had to do. You realize that she is not a sympathetic character at all. The narrative is delivered from Suzy’s point of view which makes everything just plain uneasy. I didn’t know if I wanted her to win or lose.

At just below 150 pages, True Crime hits like a quick punch to the gut. I read it in one day. With as much I loved this novella I am certainly excited to see what else Samantha Kolenik does in the future. This impressive debut should put her on every horror fiction fan’s watchlist.

About Chuck Ransford 99 Articles
Ah now for the one thing everyone loathes...writing about themselves! Well for starters, my name is Chuck, and I am a south Jersey transplant living in Amish country. I’ve been a horror fan since 5th grade, about 16 years ago. My horror fandom started when I got my hands on a copy of Jay Anson’s novel The Amityville Horror. The book terrified me, and I knew I just had to watch the movie. An older cousin of mine had a copy of it, and that was the genesis of my obsession with the genre. Over the years I have expressed my horror fandom in many ways. Since about 2005 I have been regularly attending horror conventions. These have been great ways to amass collectibles, movies, and to meet some of my favorite celebrities. My best friend Mike and I used to run our own horror blog years ago, and we also dabbled in script writing. I am looking forward to going back to writing about horror, something I’ve always loved. When I’m not working (I work at PNC Bank), my non-horror interests are studying theology and economics, watching Japanese tokusatsu, and doing play-by-play commentary for professional wrestling. I’m also a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and singing in a Barbershop quartet. Oh, and I’m probably the biggest fan of the Golden Girls you’ll ever meet. My top 5 horror flicks (definitely subject to change): 1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 2. Basket Case (1982) 3. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 4. The Beyond (1981) 5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)