Review of Urban Gothic by Brian Keene

Urban GothicWhen their car broke down in a dangerous neighborhood of the inner city, Kerri and her friends thought they would find shelter in the old dark row house. They thought it was abandoned. They thought they would be safe there until morning. They were wrong on all counts. The residents of the row house live in the cellar and rarely come out in the light of day. They’re far worse than anything on the streets outside. And they don’t like intruders. Before the sun comes up, Kerri and her friends will fight for their very lives… though death is only part of their nightmare

Synopsis


Review by Mehmet Veli

This was my first book read by Brian Keene. Maybe a little background is due, when I first started researching in to Splatter punk horror novels which I could read the list of authors I found were Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Wrath James white, Bryan Smith and yes you guessed it Brian Keene. Urban Gothic interested me as it was a different twist on the ‘Cannibalistic red necks’ and haunted house novel set in a inner city poor quarters. So I brought it on my Kindle and settled down for my first journey into Brian Keene world.

The Novel has two groups of people you follow and takes with hindsight a slightly different twist to his other novels. One group is a bunch of suburban white Teens and a group of Local poor Black Teens. The interaction between the two groups is what leads them to a abandoned Old house which has a dark secret and hides some very evil Creatures. I will not spoil the story for you as I believe reviews are to encourage fellow readers to decide whether they would like to read the novel they are researching.

Brian Keene has attempted to write a homage to his friend Edward Lee here and if you read his books there is a nice Easter egg to look out for. I have read Brian Keenes The Rising and Earthworm Gods, Castaways and Tequila’s Sunrise. This book is slightly different and does not fit into his Mythos world. Instead it reminds me a City version of Red Neck horror like Bryan Smiths Depraved or the movies Wrong Turn. Brian Keene of course adds his own great flavour, but out of all his books I have read I would put this on my least favourite of his novels. I enjoyed the beginning and the last part but felt it dragged in the middle. The ideas in the novel were great and made me think long after I put it down. Keene has a great imagination, which is why I love reading his stories. He also has a great ability to create characters you really do care about. I read this during a time i was watching some urban films set in London. Attack on the Block and Kidaulthood. which both had issues with social urban decay. Yet what I found different between British portrayal of Inner city slums and Urban Gothics version is how I feel about the characters. The British version did not try to create likeable characters. Brian Keen on the other hand did. Both groups of Teens are shown sympathetically. I enjoyed following his characters and he did a good job of playing with the class difference, while showing the human side to all the characters.

Where i think the novel failed was the big gap where they were trapped in the house and nothing much happened expect repetitive goriness. Yes even for Brian Keene this was extremely violent, it did not flow as well as the Rising and Earthworm Gods series. Yet as i pointed out the Beginning and end were pure fun for me.

So i would give this novel Three Zombies and would recommend it to Brian Keene fans and also people that enjoy Richard Laymon, Shaun Hutson and Edward Lee.

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