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.