Today I finished reading Aftertaste on my Kindle app. Before I tell you about it, there are some things you should know, first. A disclaimer, if you will.
Kyle and I got connected through social media sometime last year, as we discussed writing with other authors in cyberspace. Finding much in common we’ve built up a friendship and I have read, I’m pretty sure, all of his currently available work to date. He and I both feature in the anthology Carnage: Extreme Horror. However, my opinions are my own and just as sure as Kyle would tell me if he thought I’d written a stinker, I would tell him the same. This is an honest review, based on my interest in horror fiction from the reader’s perspective and from the angle of a fan of Kyle M Scott’s work so far, as opposed to his friend or collaborator.
I hope you’ll read on and hopefully look up more information from the links I’ll pop on below, so you can take in a range of views on this story. Or, what the hell? Just take my word for it.
The town of Plainfield is where we lay our scene, a small, quiet community in Ohio. The main strip is filled with family-owned, traditional businesses, until one day, a fast food chain sets up store and becomes the novelty place to be for the town’s inhabitants.
Almost immediately, things take a sinister turn; the chronic stomach problems, the strange behaviours, the disappearances and the unstoppable gluttony of the fast food joint’s patrons.
John and the object of his unrequited love, Slim, observe the goings-on with suspicion and begin to join the dots, but as friends and loved-ones around them succumb to an all-encompassing madness, they have to re-evaluate their own morals in the face of an enemy whose very energy is derived from the corruption of civilised values.
The first thing that struck me with Aftertaste, as with Devil’s Day and Consumed Vol. 1 before it, is Kyle M Scott’s way of building up not only believable characters, but the totally credible relationships and dynamics between them. He nails the awkwardness of the single dad with the teenage daughter he both loves and fears, cultivates cliche-busting unrequited love and then knocks you for six when all of the relationships are tested as the main plot takes hold.
Fans of movies such as Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers, The Faculty and Disturbing Behaviour will certainly get a kick out of this story. There is all the gruesome dismantling of human beings you come to expect from Kyle’s work, as well as sacrifice, betrayal and even a special appearance that made me laugh out loud (just didn’t see this call-back coming). The shocks are plentiful and some of the scenes will make you grit your teeth – but that’s because he made you care – those who are particularly squeamish won’t enjoy a few particular scenes.
Slice the story open and examine its innards a little closer and you’ll find commentary on man’s capacity for evil and the ease with which one can slip into corruption. It is not unusual for Kyle to have a pop at our glutinous society, consuming resources, wealth and lives at an alarming rate, so I was not surprised to find that artery threaded through this tale. He does it well, and the characters will disgust you yet seem somehow familiar to you.
In the end, if he hasn’t put you off your dinner altogether, Kyle will ensure that you chew your food properly, right after you’ve made sure you know where it all comes from…
Another hard-core, supercharged horror tale from one of our rising stars in horror. This gets five stars from me.