Deep Red: Paul Kane (Kendall Review)

Deep Red: Paul Kane

Reviewed by Brian Bogart

In a nightmare future, where the wolves have taken over, a lone messenger negotiates the dangerous landscape of this new world. The human beings that are left have been driven underground, deep under the earth where they survive in small groups fighting for their very survival. Against this backdrop, a new hero has emerged: a young man who has become a living legend, someone who might just be the key to their victory. Someone who knows the secret of what’s buried deeper than anything else, in a room full of mirrors. The final battle of the war is about to begin, as the wolves attempt to resurrect their long-lost leader. But which side will win? And what will happen after that?

Well, I guess that’s the reason Kane wrote this book- to answer those very questions.

Paul Kane’s “RED” trilogy has been an interesting ride. At it’s heart, it’s a post-apocalyptic tale woven with the threads of a fairy tale. Dark fairy tales are kind of Kane’s playground. It’s these call-outs and nods that always seem to shine the brightest in his work. “DEEP RED” is no exception.

The contagion of the virus has spread, driving the non-infected deep into the underground. It is here that the remaining humans plan and prepare for a final assault. A good portion of the beginning of this book is spent within the holding cells and military base. The POV is only a handful of the survivors, thankfully. Each one is fleshed out in a simple and easy to understand manner, their inner thoughts and occasional monologues filling in the blanks as you go.

But, words cannot express my dislike of one of them. The absolutely annoying Grice. The war has really gone to his head. His inability to listen and even use common sense really has got the best of him. He dreams of glory and victory, sequestering the one person who could give them an edge in this battle, Tommy.

Tommy has visions, glimpses of the wolves and their origins. They start as flashes of images, but when they capture one of the pack’s strongest, drugging heavily and torturing her with silver in the confines of a cell…. Certain things come to light. Through conversation that may or may not be fully in his head, he begins to understand his role. Her role. Why it seems he has such a great record for surviving when others have not. But is this all a ploy? The wolves have developed ways to impersonate and use psychic subterfuge. It could all be a ploy, after all.

But the wolves are coming. There is no doubt. And they know more about Operation Wolfshead than would be possible, unless- there was a sleeper agent within the ranks.

Could it even be… Tommy, himself?

There is a particular scene, where one character tells a fairy tale about The First Wolf. I enjoyed this exchange a lot and the entire last portion of the book hinges on these ideas as it kicks into the final showdown.

The wolves are vicious. Throats are torn, limbs ripped from torsos…

And lots of RED.

Kane doesn’t linger on the violence with vivid descriptions of gore and such (though it is there), but instead uses it to remind us of how desperate and dangerous the world has become. And just “what big teeth they have”, so to speak.

Just like most fairy tales do.

DEEP RED” is a quick read and while I would have preferred a slightly larger-scale final showdown- Kane draws his series to a close with some bared teeth and glistening claws, with silver-edged weapons at the ready. At times, it feels more “military action” in theme than urban fairy tales.

While this book works fine as a stand-alone (complete with a quick rundown of the previous books before beginning)… I think that by doing so, it loses a bit of the charm and the overall sense of the series he has built. In my opinion, for newer readers, it would feel much fuller if they are read together as intended.

But this a problem prevalent in most trilogies or series, and not a fault of Kane’s storytelling.

Despite some of my minor quibbles, I still enjoyed it. It is not my favorite in the series, but that didn’t detract.

Fairy tales, even the darkest ones, always have to come to an end.

Never mind the glowing red eyes in the shadows.

No, don’t try to count them. That never helps.

There are so many of them ….

In a nightmare future, where the wolves have taken over, a lone messenger negotiates the dangerous landscape of this new world. The human beings that are left have been driven underground, deep under the earth where they survive in small groups fighting for their very survival. Against this backdrop, a new hero has emerged: a young man who has become a living legend, someone who might just be the key to their victory. Someone who knows the secret of what’s buried deeper than anything else, in a room full of mirrors. The final battle of the war is about to begin, as the wolves attempt to resurrect their long-lost leader. But which side will win? And what will happen after that?

You can buy Deep Red from Amazon UK & Amazon US

The brilliant SST Publications also have signed & numbered limited hardbacks available here

Brian Bogart

Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of the humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigor.

Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.

You can follow Brian on Twitter @DreamsDarkly

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2 Comments

  1. It helps to read them together. Thanks for the comment. I also highly recommend
    Kane’s Scary Tales: Volume 1 if you want a bit of variety in the dark fairy tale department.

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