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"Red Rabbit" Book Review

Written by Tony Jones

Published by Tor Nightfire

red rabbit alex grecian poster large

Written by Alex Grecian
2023, 464 pages, Fiction
Released on 19th September 2023


I am a sucker for strange novels and doubt I will read many to rival Alex Grecian’s Red Rabbit this year, a slow, mediative, meandering odyssey across the southern states of America in the years following the Civil War. Grecian has previous published several novels, novellas and graphic novels and if they are of the same standard of Red Rabbit, then he is definitely an author to revisit, as this (sort of) horror western is incredibly striking and lingered with me long after completion. Normally I take the hype which accompanies book blurbs with a pinch of salt, but on this occasion name-checking Red Rabbit in comparison with Stephen Graham Jones, Nick Cutter, Alma Katsu (The Hunger), Charles Portis (True Grit), the film The VVitch or TV show Deadwood are all bang on the money. These are only points of reference and ultimately Red Rabbit is a highly original work which more than holds its own against any of these big names.

Others have called Red Rabbit folk horror; however, I am undecided how comfortable this odd book fits that label (or whether it needs a label at all) beyond how the supernatural element of the story works, which effortlessly genre hops. Set in Kansas, Arkansas, and other southern states, the participants have a peculiar acceptance of the supernatural, not enough to assume this is an ‘alternative’ version of post-Civil War America, but sufficient to raise eyebrows. Witchcraft is tolerated in some parts – there are even witch hunters – and seeing ghosts seems to be accepted as fairly normal. None of this is given much explanation and the end result is a superbly described and dangerous world where life is cheap, threat is everywhere, cannibalism exists, demons inhabit men and it is hard to trust anybody when one wrong move might turn you into a ghost, unable to leave the immediate locality of your final moments.

At 464 pages, Red Rabbit is a long book, but if you enjoy these rambling types of epics, it does not feel like a slog and I quickly lost myself within its sprawling vastness, multiple narratives (there are a lot of characters) which take their time revealing what the main storyline truly is. At its heart, Red Rabbit is an odyssey (with lots of things thrown in the way) of an odd group, flung together by circumstances to find the witch Sadie Grace. However, they all have different reasons for seeking her out, whilst some have none at all, but principally the large bounty on her head is enough for most. Told from numerous perspectives, including Sadie and even some ghosts, she is aware of the group approaching her farm in Burden County and the threat they pose.

It is fascinating to see genuine witch hunters with real powers. One of the group, Tom Goggins, uses a charm or hex to wake the spirit of a dead man, who then follows the group and meets other ghosts along the way. These supernatural encounters have deeply melancholic vibes, with some not realising they are dead or having any notion how long since they passed on. Ghosts drift in and out of the plot as the group head towards Burden County, with a terrific character only known as the Huntsman playing a bigger role as events move on. Connected to the witch, the Huntsman is a man of few words, but one who oozes threat and danger in every move.

Why is the book called Red Rabbit? ‘Rabbit’ is a mute little girl a couple of vagabond directionless cowboys stumble upon under the care of witch hunter Tom. Not fully trusting him with the child, they join his hunt for the witch. On their journey they pass the home of the recently widowed Rose Nettles, who takes the little girl under her wing and also joins the expanding party. Why do these individuals tag along on Tom’s hunt for the witch if they have no interest in killing her? Little Rabbit is part of the answer and is clearly much more than she seems, even if the rest of her party do not quite realise it, and the reader has great fun following the various layers of plot as they are stripped away.

Red Rabbit puts its many characters through the wringer and some are lost along the way with horrible toad possessions, demons, cannibal towns and all sorts of unpleasant episodes. If you are patient, Alex Grecian’s version of the Wild West is a revelation; vibrant, dangerous and soon you will be hedging your bets as the big showdown against the witch approaches. But what is something much worse than Sadie Grace lurks in the shadows? Blessed with an outstanding and moving ending, Red Rabbit goes out with all guns blazing.


Overall: 5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.

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About The Author
Tony Jones
Author: Tony Jones
Staff Reviewer - UK
Such is Tony’s love of books, he has spent well over twenty years working as a school librarian where he is paid to talk to kids about horror. He is a Scotsman in exile who has lived in London for over two decades and credits discovering SE Hinton and Robert Cormier as a 13-year-old for his huge appetite for books. Tony previously spent five years writing The Greatest Scrum That Ever Was, a history book very few people bought. In the past he has written for Horror Novel Reviews and is a regular contributor to The Ginger Nuts of Horror website, often specialising in YA horror.
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