Brian Keene and I have at least one thing in common. Other than our mutual interest in horror, that is. We're both working class. Oh, Brian makes his living writing these days, but his roots are in the Blue Collar world. His roots and, I think, his heritage. It's in his blood. Like it's in mine.

The characters in Kill Whitey work at a loading dock. These guys think and act like real working Joes. It's a mindset that can't be faked. Those of us in that world would see through it in a heartbeat. Kill Whitey most resembles Terminal in this way. Both novels feature characters that, in their quiet desperation, find it not-too-difficult to turn to violence and crime. They've lived on the outskirts of these antisocial activities all their lives.

Brian's prose is workmanlike in Kill Whitey. No fancy tricks, but a craftsman at work, doing what he has busted his ass learning how to do. Kill Whitey thrills and entertains, yet it also gives the reader real issues to think about and to feel in his or her gut. As in most of Keene's novels, there is a melancholic tone in Kill Whitey that most of us can readily identify with. There is tension in America and a lot of working people aren't all that far from a breaking point. Desperation is our daily bread.
Larry Gibson is a regular guy. He has his buddies, who work at the same place he does. He likes beer, music and movies. It's an average life, one that could be considered envious by many. But he's lonely. No dating, a rather dead-end job and his youth has slipped by him. One night he and his friends hit a strip club to pass some idle hours, There Larry is is transfixed by one of the dancers, whose name is Sondra. Obsessed, Larry continues to go there alone, even though he has heard that Sondra is a prostitute. The club is operated by Russians and rumor says that they are connected to Organized Crime. One night Sondra tries to escape and Larry helps her. And Whitey, the owner of the club and pimp to Sondra, is angry. Murderously so. The chase is on, but Whitey seems to be virtually unstoppable.

Like Terminal, Kill Whitey begins as a straight suspense novel and turns into an outright horror story before it's over. Brian knows how to gradually turn the screws, building tension as the body count rises and the blood and gore dispenses.

I've followed Brian Keene's career with enthusiasm since The Rising. That novel is, unless I'm mistaken, his most popular book, but I think he has grown and has improved at his trade. Kill Whitey is an important book in his career, just as Cold in July was an important book in Joe R. Lansdale's career. Both novels feature an essentially decent man thrust into a bloody vortex of violence. Men who try to maintain their humanity in the face of the worst things our species is capable of.

Kill Whitey is a forthcoming trade hardcover from Cemetery Dance Publications. I want to thank CD for making this excellent novel available in such an edition. In a time of talk of a recession, inflated gas prices and other alarming trends, a lot of readers want to read a book and cannot afford the luxury of signed tipsheets and other costly bells and whistles. I hope that everyone that reads this buys a copy of Kill Whitey to prove that these editions can be as lucrative for the publisher as the high end editions.

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