First things first… Kyle and I are brothers in arms on the horror writing scene and have struck up a friendship over time, we’ve appeared in a horror anthology together and are very likely to again. As with any review I give for the work of horror writers I happen to have connected with professionally, or on a personal level, my reviews are purely about what I think of the piece I am reviewing, not about them, so you’ll get my honest opinion if you decide to read on.
Protection was very much a book of surprises for me. I remember seeing a snippet of it that Kyle posted on Facebook months before release, and the prose blew me away. That sample was a great indicator of the whole, because Kyle’s ability to draw you into his world is at its peak in this book. That’s not to say he wrote poorly in his previous books – far from it – it’s just that this time, in my opinion, he’s shifted gears up again.
If you’re expecting the dark humour of Consumed Vol. 1 (and, I anticipate the forthcoming Vol. 2), the splatter of Devil’s Day, or the outright brutal excesses of Aftertaste, you’re on a different track this time. Kyle is showing us something else here and I can’t help but thinking there is far more of Kyle in this book than perhaps we’ve seen before (I’ve never met him at the point of writing this, by the way). The book is rammed to the hilt with parental guilt, anxiety and the distorting power that love for one’s offspring unleashes upon, potentially, every value in your life.
Yet again, the dynamics of friendships and family are nailed just right here. If anything, some of the scenes between the main protagonist and his son were almost cringe-inducing – not because of anything negative, but because the everyday work of a parent, trying to make everything an adventure and trying to ensure your child couldn’t doubt even for a moment how much you love them, is so perfectly rendered, it’s difficult not to see yourself in there too.
Unless of course, you hate your own children.
This isn’t a novel of epic-length and it is written with a pace and flow that ensured that even I, the notoriously slow reader that I am, could get from Kindle cover to Kindle cover quickly. The plot is perfectly paced within that frame and Kyle didn’t leave out any surprises. There are a few twists in here that any horror fan will love.
So, I remain a big fan of Kyle’s and hope to see more of this side of his writing persona – the more serious stuff being tackled. My favourite of his works is still Devil’s Day, but it was great to see this side to his work and as I say, I hope he explores this more in future, because it’s another great flavour of his work.
Go get it! I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.