"King of the Road" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Published by Tor Books
Written by R.S. Belcher
2018, 384 pages, Fiction
Released on December 4th, 2018
It’s no secret that I have trust issues. My dad left me, oyster crackers do not actually have oysters, my editor forgets to tell me that I am reading a sequel, so I get to be confused for the first couple of chapters, etc. Thankfully, King of the Road mostly makes up for these things…mostly.
The book centers on the Brotherhood, a motorcycle club who in addition to being bounty hunters, they also fight the supernatural things that go bump in the night. The group’s leaders, Jimmie and Heck, are fighting to keep their club from imploding from a rival gang bent on their destruction. There are a couple of other subplots in which I’ll cover in a few moments.
Pardon my French, but I have to warn you this plot is Dark As Fuck, with lots of graphic descriptions of violence and murders. I consider myself somewhat unflappable towards violence, but numerous times a scene disturbed me enough to have to take a break in order to save my sanity.
What’s even more bizarre is that King of the Road is also really heartwarming. There are so many sweet scenes about family and loyalty; it makes the reader wonder if they are reading the same story. One minute you’re reading about a killer clown dismembering a body and the next you’re cheering on a were-possum defending his best friend.
Yes, I said killer clowns. Despite a multitude of dark characters, there are also a lot of fun supernatural elements to the story. My personal favorite is the character of Jethro, the aforementioned were-possum. This is just a hint of the humor that runs through this novel and it works so well.
However, the story suffers from having too many subplots. One centers on Lovina, a “road witch” who is investigating the disappearance of a girl who she first saw in a vision. This investigation leads to a trailer park with a haunted history. Lovina also has a romance arc in the plot that doesn’t work. All the arc does is add even more stories and characters to an already overloaded book.
Another accompanying storyline features Ryan, a resident of the trailer park who gets mixed up with the aforementioned killer clowns.
Author R.S. Belcher has a vivid sense of scenery and you feel like you are really in the story. I like the trailer park scenes, especially because I grew up in a similar park and it felt like I was coming home again. For example, the poor residents make the best of their bleak situation by creating a swimming pool using the beds of pick up trucks. We had a similar “pool” set up like that where I used to live.
Despite the darkness, King of the Road is a good tale with a great setup and some memorable characters. Yes, some of the them don’t fit and the plot feels a little bloated because so many things are going on at once, but this tale is a ride you do want to take if you’re brave enough to withstand the darkness.
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