Written by: Joe Hempel of Top of the Heap Reviews
There is a collection of books out there by one Carolyn McCray. It’s titled “Don’t Read After Dark” and features six novels and one short story.
The first book in that collection is called “Fresh Meat”, and from the description, it sounds like it could lead you down a dark disturbing path. Essentially a bunch of serial killers are trapped in the same house and forced to fight each other at times, to the death.
It opens up easily enough with a woman being kidnapped and brought into this house, not knowing what’s going on and is completely scared. The scenes leading up to this moment are the best you are going to get. Unfortunately it’s only about 15 pages.
From there, not only does the writing go downhill, the characters become so outrageous that they are comical rather than create any sort of tension. You have a bumbling cop that hangs up on a call because he was playing video games, and his dialogue doesn’t make him into a police officer, he comes off as a 15 year old boy. His actions in the book are even worse. He is probably the most unbelievable character I’ve ever read.
The scenes with the serial killers just fall flat. It’s almost like that Peter Jackson movie, Brain Dead. Where it’s so violent and over the top that it’s funny. I almost thought the preacher serial killer was going to shout out “I kick ass for the Lord!” The only difference between the movie and this book is that this book thought it was being horrific when it doesn’t come close. The interaction between the woman that was kidnapped and these killers were just ridiculous. The interactions just seemed so forced and the dialogue so poor that at times, I was rooting for the killers, just so the book would end.
There was a nice little red herring twist to keep you from really thinking about another twist that happened, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the garbage contained within.
This could have been a good book if done correctly. However the writing is so amateurish that I began to wonder if it was written by somebody in a high school fiction writing class. Not only that, the editing is so bad, and word usage is so bad, that I feel like I got a first draft. If this had any sort of editing done to it, I would never know. It’s as unpolished as a hunk of coal.
Even after all of this, I still started the second book just to see what could be worse. Trust me. It can and does get worse. Stay far, far FAR away from this collection.
Rating: Can I give it 0/5 stars? Yeah.