Blades of Ray, Peter Mckeirnon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Publisher: Slumberjack Entertainment
Genre: Revenge Horror
Tags: Contemporary, Graphic Violence, Psychological, Serial Killer
Purchase At: Amazon.com
On his graduation night something terrible happened to Ray Barber. Twenty years later he has returned to his home town of Haven Hills with only one thing on his mind.
Don’t you, forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me…
I can’t recall if I’ve ever started off a review with lyrics from a song (Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds for those who don’t know), but those lyrics are important to this story.
Blades of Ray starts off with Ray’s first kill. There are no filler pages of miscellaneous details. The first death literally happens within seconds of the book starting.
Ray Barber is back in town.
Ray had a bad childhood in the small town of Haven Hills. He was heavier than the other kids and different in probably every way from his classmates. It didn’t help that his mother was an addict. Haven Hills is a town where everybody knows everybody and their business. Ray was bullied horribly all through school. If he wasn’t being beat up and bullied for his size it was happening because of who his mother was. He endured it because he didn’t have a choice.
Then graduation night happened.
It’s twenty years later and Haven Hills High School is about to have a reunion celebrating what has always been called the ‘Golden Year’ – called that because every person in the class of 1988 became successful, allowing the town to grow.
That is, except Ray Barber. Ray had left after graduation night and never looked back – or so the town thought.
The reader knows immediately that something horrible happened to Ray on graduation night. Exactly what happened isn’t revealed into long into the story. Little by little comes out with each kill.
Ray won’t be satisfied until every single member of the class of 1988 is dead.
That’s all I can say about that without giving too much away.
This is the third story I’ve read recently where I have sympathy for the killer and not so much for the victims. Every single person that Ray kills was either there on graduation night or had bullied him horribly over the years. From his classmates to even a few adults who should’ve done something – anything – but chose to take part in the bullying themselves.
When the secret comes out of what happened to Ray at the hands of all of these people you want to go back in time and save him. Sadly, people are bullied to this point daily and it breaks my heart. I know they don’t come back two decades later and do what Ray did – and I’m damn sure not saying they should – but Ray’s story proves that after the bullies go on with their lives the bullied person often can’t. It’s something they have to live with for the rest of their lives. It’s heartbreaking. And it angers me. Not much gets to me as bad as watching someone suffer as Ray did when he was a child.
The author says a lot in only 65 pages.
As much as I loved the story I did have a few issues with it, which is why I’ve knocked off a half star from my rating.
The editing. There were a lot of typos. I know it’s only a short story but ‘new’ where ‘knew’ should’ve been and ‘know’ where ‘now’ should’ve been. There are a few sentences where the punctuation was all over the place. Did that take away from the story? I still enjoyed it (obviously) but what I’ve mentioned (and a lot I didn’t mention) were glaring.
Another thing is that I wish I could’ve seen more about Ray’s life in the twenty years he was away from Haven Hills. Nothing is said about what he went on to do, where he lived, or anything else. I didn’t need more details about the townsfolk. The author handled that brilliantly. I just wanted to know more about Ray as an adult.
Overall, this is a really good horror short. I’ll be reading more by this author.
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Cindi February 5, 2019 at 11:56 pm
But at least it’s a good song. 😉
Thanks, Karen. It’s a perfect Cindi book. Short, but it says a heck of a lot in those few pages.
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Now I have that song stuck in my mind, gah 🙂
Great review, Cindi. It sounds chilling but right up your alley.