Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Bryan Smith is a name instantly recognizable to many fans of the splatterpunk subgenre. Since his appearance in the 2000s, the author has been fairly prolific producing over 20 books. Among his most popular and notorious novels is The Killing Kind.
The story follows several serial killers on a rampage through the eastern United States. Mixed-up in the whole mess is Rob. He is your average horror fan. He himself is not a killer. Rob is shocked by the acts committed, but also strangely fascinated by it.
Rob finds himself in a love-hate relationship with Roxie, a Goth serial killer. She is beautiful. She is the woman of his dreams. However, Rob isn’t sure if she is going to kill him, fuck him, or both. He is like a moth drawn to the light. When given the opportunity to flee, he stays. He chooses to bear witness to the chaos and as a result, he becomes complicit in the barbarous acts.
Rob is a facsimile of the reader. The Killing Kind is a both a condemnation and celebration of violence. One is both disgusted by the actions portrayed in explicit detail, but compelled to read on regardless. By reading, one is validating Smith’s narrative. It is, in some ways, an unspoken approval of the violence.
Others have tackled this subject matter. However, Smith does it better than most. The cross-country killing spree is nothing new, but the author does it with a gusto that will make the reader take notice. Moreover, the primary serial killer -Roxie- is memorable. Her sexy bat-shit-crazy personality works on many different levels and comes off as believable.
For those unfamiliar with Bryan Smith, The Killing Kind is a great first read by an author that does not disappoint. It is an opening salvo in a career that is still exploding. So, if splatterpunk is your thing, join Rob and enjoy the show.