The Diner: J.C. Robinson
Reviewed by Yvonne Miller
Just how would you react if all your hopes, dreams, and money were invested in a run-down diner, to have the love of your life taken from you prematurely by a drunk driver? Would you go to pieces or would you take decisive action?
It only takes one chapter to be swallowed up by the masterpiece that Robinson has created. The first act of brutality – Bab’s husband being mowed down by a drunken piece of shit had me hooked. We then get a taste for the kind of woman that Babs turns out to be. An interesting character, intriguing background and quite literally living a nightmare. Turn the pages and be prepared to be sucked into extreme violence that is delivered alongside a side of eggs. The plot was seamless, my heart matched my levels of adrenaline and I don’t think it ever slowed, especially with the body count mounting.
The Diner is as intelligent as it is ambitious. The plot was freakishly brutal. Bab’s husband’s death has a domino effect on her life. If you think that her actions start strange, just keep reading, as you are about to take a walk down psycho street. She’s unhinged, and it’s immediately obvious that past events have affected her more than originally thought. I flew through every chapter with vigor and morbid curiosity – Bab’s is a character that grabs your attention by the balls, and then gives you a swift kick. Just when you think you know all she’s capable of, then, BOOM, sledgehammer to the head. A woman that seems to always be a step ahead, what will it take to trip her up?
If you thought that this was all in the vain of avenging her dead husband, think again. She develops a taste for ridding the world of “rats” and it becomes obsessive, she needs to see the life drain from the evil beings she chooses for extermination. The characterization was superb and multi-dimensional, this would make a perfect small-screen adaptation. My favourite part of this novel was just how conflicted I ended up feeling. I could get on board with her initial grief and wanting some semblance of revenge but that soon faded when she took it too far. She was bat-shit crazy.
This book is exactly why I am so passionate about indie horror authors. This was a gem. The cadence of Robinson’s voice and his unique storytelling don’t come around too often. Gloriously complex and deeply disturbing it was the love child of Clive Barker and Jack Ketchum.
The world is a pit of bile and garbage spewed forth by humankind, and no one knows this better than Babs McDayle.
When unbearable loss enters Babs’ life and leaves her with nothing but a roadside diner in the middle of Southern California’s high desert, Babs realizes something that changes her life, and seriously affects the lives of many around her.
The realization? Rats don’t deserve the good life. Rats deserve to choke on their own blood and faeces. Rats make life a living hell for everyone else.
In this tale of loss, terror, kidnapping, and moral dilemmas, Babs defends her diner against the rats of this world, and works each and every day to teach a little lesson to rats who dare to cross her.
But when Babs gets exposed by Sawyer, a customer who is nothing but kind and helpful, and her own employee and good friend, Amanda, chaos ensues. She doesn’t want to hurt them because they are not rats; they are good, caring people. But can she risk letting them go, risk allowing them to turn her in? Her work would come to an end, and there is so much more to accomplish…
Perhaps there is another option that can save Sawyer and Amanda.
Perhaps there isn’t.
Come into ‘The Diner’ and find out.
Well, what can I say about myself? I’m a 33-year-old married woman and mum to 3 crazy boys, aged 13,6 and 4. My eldest has a genetic condition that causes a visual impairment so as you can imagine life can be very chaotic and provides many challenges along the way but I would 100% never change any of them. They fulfil my life beyond measure.
I adore books – I adore shouting about books! I’m a reviewer of mainly horror and dark fantasy. Whether that’s featuring werewolves, evil creatures or the depravity of humanity, I will read them all.
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