Page Count: 240
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publication Date: July 2019
What are you willing to do, what are you willing to become, to save someone you love?
On the one-year anniversary of his death in a terrible car accident, Sierra Sowell’s brother Jeffrey is resurrected by a mysterious man known only as Corliss.
Corliss also transforms several people in Sierra’s life into inhuman monsters…
…Each of these people harbor grudges against Sierra, sparks of anger and resentment which Corliss fans into murderous flames…
Sierra and Jeffrey’s boyfriend Marc work to discover the reason for her brother’s return to life while struggling to survive attacks by the monstrous quartet whose only desire is to see her dead…
After the monsters carve a bloody swath through town – and each other – Corliss gives Sierra a chance to make Jeffrey’s resurrection permanent: if she’s willing to make a dreadful bargain.
Can she do what it will take to save her brother, no matter how much blood is shed along the way? Or will she allow him to return to the land of the dead and perhaps join him there?
They Kill has a very fluent pace, written in 3rd person, each character links to the next in either minor or major ways. The length of their own storylines are comparable to their contribution to the story. Some are short chance encounters whilst others are relations, colleagues and neighbours.
The way Waggoner tied all the characters together with one demonic man wreaking havoc in various chaotic scenarios reminded me of King’s Needful Things.
Occasional use of disturbing imagery includes a particularly rancid scene involving a drinking fountain. You’ll get a good stomach churn from the sex scenes too, they were uncomfortable and a little skeevy I felt.
I was never really invested in any particular characters or the story line. Sierra’s devastation over the loss of her brother was mentioned often but never really described in a way that ellicited enough emotion for my liking. It was just a tool to create the scenario and that showed.
The supernatural abilities of Corliss made him much less frightening. For me he was more of a fantasy character, and whilst I do enjoy fantasy it’s not what I expected from a Flame Tree Press title.
As well as being telepathic, Corliss travels by ripping holes in time and space. This along side his blackest black coat, long blonde hair and pointy fingers made him a resounding stereotype of the evil found in 90s entertainment. Unfortunately this robbed me of the tension Waggoner tries to build.
‘The Gyre’ and Corliss’ purpose are semi-explained in passing, I felt this either needed a lot more depth or to be omitted entirely. The same could be said of the monsters- acquaintances in Sierra’s life. Aside from Jeffery himself, none of them had a particularly strong bond with Sierra and so it seemed odd that they should all be hell bent on her destruction.
If you like silly horror then this is one for you. I think fans of Janz work would definitely enjoy Waggoner. Unfortunately I didn’t.
TW rape, child abuse, alcoholism.
I received a copy of this title from Flame Tree Press in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to Anne Cater.