TAKE A STAB AT REVENGE
by Reyna Young, 2022
“Slasher Girl” is a slim volume with a really sharp cover. It tells the story of a young rape victim, Samantha, who turns the tables on her attackers—by butchering them, one-by-one.
The story is a good, basic rape-and-revenge tale that has worked before and is still a viable plot-line. Having the heroine turn into a psychopathic killer is a nice variation on the slasher trope.
The scene that follows the rape, in which Samantha deals with the aftermath, is powerful, capturing much of the emotion and intensity lacking in the actual crime and the events leading up to it. The author shows that the brutality of the assault is matched and intensified by the abuse that follows it.
The narration is a little heavy-handed. The main character's feelings and opinions are never hard to ascertain, because the author announces them in every scene.
There are a few boo-boos, like: “Samantha stayed up a little longer, taking herself downstairs to the front room to watch (A) Nightmare on Elm Street, her go-to movie when she felt as if nothing could get any better.” I think the author meant “...get any worse.”
Or this: “It was her word against there's.”
Or: “Officer Coldwell chopped it up to Nick getting sloppy.”
But really, those are minor problems. A bigger problem is consistently telling the reader what happens rather than showing them and making them feel it. It's quite common among new writers.
For instance: “...Kirk stood up to complain to Mrs. Darby about how Jeff had been throwing papers at him since the start of class. Jeff pleaded with her. They were lying, and Samantha came to his defense.... Mrs. Darby sent Jeff to the principal's office, threatening him that he wouldn't see graduation day if outbursts like that continued.” Ouch, that's not a scene; that's an outline. The characters are talking, but there's no actual dialog.
The characters are likable—or hate-able—as they should be. It's a fast read and there's some interesting twists along the way. This is the strength of the book—showing Samantha's own guilt about the things she's doing. And then keep doing those things, like in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
The story works fine. The craft of writing still needs tightening, but not everyone is as picky as me. There's a lot of good and some bad in this book, but I would definitely give Reyna Young's next offering a look.