Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a huge fan of independent author Christopher Ruz, so when he asked if I’d like a copy of his horror serial Rust to review, you’ll be unsurprised that I jumped right on it.
I was excited about Rust because I’ve always thought that Ruz’s voice was made for horror. Horrific imagery leaks through in bits and pieces in his other speculative fiction, and he has propensity to get very personal with thoughts and desires, as well as hold nothing back from a character’s raw experience, even at the expense of making the reader uncomfortable.
All I can say is that I was not disappointed. Horror is one of those love/hate genres for me–if done well it can be amazing, but almost all the time you see it it’s not done well. And if making good horror movies is difficult, then writing good horror must be nearly impossible, because I can count on one hand the number of horror authors I’ve read who really got under my skin. With Rust, Ruz has joined an elite cadre of authors including King and Barker who can do horror well.
There’s a lot to like here, starting with the setting. Rustville is a suitably disturbing playground for all manner of macabre adventures had and yet to come, and the brilliant decision to place the series in the mid-1980’s only ramps up the creepiness and sense of dread (horror is so much better when no one has a cell phone). The plight of the main character Kimberly, waking up in a life she assumes must be a lie but which all evidence points to being real, adds a mysterious touch to the heart-pounding, skin-crawling action. But most of all, the story just flows in that typically Ruz-ian fashion, events transpiring at just the right pace to draw you in and not let go.
I’m also a fan of the serialized format, mimicking how shows like Lost follow one continuous storyline, while also delivering a separate climax at the end of each season. One thing I would like to see for future seasons would be an expanding of the cast to be more of an ensemble, though the focus on Kimberly and Fitch this time around works well as an introduction.
Rust: Season 1 is available either serialized or as an omnibus edition. If you’re a fan of horror, you need to read it as soon as possible. Then, hit up Christopher Ruz’s website and let him know you’d like more seasons to be produced.
THE TRUE QUEEN LIVES