Monday, June 6, 2011

Rabid Child by Pete Risley

I was first introduced to roaches when I lived in Hawaii during my sixth grade year.  They were big bugs, and some even had wings. I remember one night while washing dishes at the kitchen sink I kept getting the distinct feeling that I was being watched, and sure enough... I looked up and there on the edge of the paper towel dispenser was the biggest roach I had ever seen. I'm talking two inches long with those feeler things that stood out past his head another inch, maybe even more. And before I even had a chance to freak out and do the sudden scream, flap my arms like a bird, and turn around and run maneuver... he took flight.

I'd never seen a roach fly before. Up until that point, all of the roaches I had ever encountered only skittered across the floor as if in a drunken dance. Well this guy wasn't skittering anywhere, he was flying. Right at me. Right at my head! So I ducked. Then I chased him down with a frying pan. 

I never caught him. 


If there was anything good that came from this experience, it helped to prepare me for life as a missionary living in the poverty stricken area of Las Vegas where apartment complex owners NEVER bothered to spray for bugs. 

We lived in this one apartment where we would sleep with our head under the covers and the blankets tucked in around us. During the night we'd hear distinct *thuds* as the roaches would fall from the ceiling and land on our beds.  We could never sit on the furniture because if we did, the roaches would be crawling on us within seconds. SECONDS.

In your hair. Down your shirt. Across your legs.  They lived in the refrigerator and the cupboards. They lived in the bathroom. They lived in our clothes in the closet. And they lived in the oven. We only found out about the oven residents when we decided to cook a casserole for dinner and upon removing it from the oven, found it decorated with roaches.

It was disgusting. Truly disgusting.

Okay. So what does all of this have to do with the book I read? Not much of anything, really. I mean, there were a couple of scenes where roaches were mentioned. I think one was on a lampshade at the beginning of the book, and the next time they were mentioned, one was crawling across the TV. But the mere fact that I knew they were in the house where Desmond Cray found himself living again, was enough to freak me out. Seriously. When he'd go to sleep at night, all I could see were roaches.  The thought made me cringe. I dreamt of roaches for days.

In Pete Risley's, Rabid Child you'll read about the unusual life of Desmond Cray. Desmond ran away from  his foster parents after an incident had taken place, and at the beginning of the book you find him homeless. Desmond doesn't have any friends and he has a very unusual habit. Or... a strange addiction. 

Out and about one night doing things that most people wouldn't be doing, he is discovered by his former foster mother that happens to be driving by.  After insisting that he come home with her, Desmond is thrown into a world full of disgusting chaos caused from the dementia of the foster mother, the psychological melt down of her daughter, the sick and twisted needs of an elderly gentleman living there, the horrific ideals of the wealthy, and of course his past, which inevitably catches up with him.

From the ramblings of a woman that clearly lost her sanity years ago, from  a daughter struggling to find  the best way to care for her demented mother, the world created by Pete Risley is often disturbing, creepy, downright vile, and just plain bizarre.

Part of Desmond wants to leave, but he never does until the end of the book where everything that could possibly go wrong, does.  The hardest part for me while reading this book was actually fooling myself into thinking something good was finely going to happen in Desmond's life.  I honestly thought he had a future full of love and happiness.

Boy was I wrong.

Which is good.  I think I enjoyed the surprises that kept coming. I mean, seriously. Just when I thought I had read the worst that could possibly happen in the book, another incident would take place leaving me shaking my head. And just when I thought the book was about to settle down again and that a happy ending was just around the corner... I'd be wrong.  And a little worried.  Worried because the book ends with Desmond Cray on the run again.  Leaving me to wonder if there might be a sequel to Desmond's life.

I really am curious to know what happens next. Does Desmond get help? Does he continue on the same path of personal destruction?  Will you ever give him a happy ending, Mr. Risley?  I really want to know if he's forever taking up residence in the drain pipe where he moves "swiftly and silently, under the shadows, away from the light."

Disturbing. Shocking.  This won't be an average read for many.  Christopher Ransom, author of The Birthing House, says that Rabid Child by Pete Risley is "a perverse and disturbing tale of broken souls searching for love that is bracing but surprisingly affecting."   Yep. That about sums it up!   As bizarre as the book was, I actually enjoyed it,  and look forward to reading more work written by Pete Risley.

PETE RISLEY lives alone in a tiny, cluttered house in a deteriorating neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. You can sample Pete's writing at Pulp Metal Magazine HERE!

Rabid Child is available on the KINDLE  for $3.99.

DISCLAIMER:  "Up until that point, all the roaches I had ever encountered only skittered across the floor as if in a drunken dance." This sentence was created using feedback from some of my most awesome-est twitter friends.  The word "skitter" was suggested to describe a roach running across the floor when I asked my twitter friends for another word to describe them. "Drunken dance" came from my friend Spencer. I told him ahead of time I planned to use this sentence in my review.  =)


David Cranmer said...

Sabrina, Fine review but I loved your digression at the beginning with the roach. You have a short horror story there.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Nice story! And Rabid Child sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Sabrina! And thanks as well for your concern about Mr. Desmond Cray, post-RC. However, I'm not at liberty to discuss my client's whereabouts at the present time.

- Pete Risley

Spencer said...

Love the disclaimer at the bottom of the page. Hysterical.

christine said...

I didn't always agree/like/enjoy the books you listed, however, I never held that against you. I WILL MISS, however, your great comments, humor and insight as to the book you were "pushing." You ALWAYS made it sound so very interesting, intriguing and I could see such a growth and improvement from when you first began this side kick of yours. It was always entertaining and helped me look into books more and how the author came to the decision of writing. Thanks, Sabrina. You did a great job!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Donna K. said...

Bravo - WELL written as always. You are so funny! D.

Sabrina E. Ogden said...

Hey, Christine. Thanks as always for the kind comments and support for the blog. I'm working on fixing the block that has been placed on the blog and hope to get everyone at the office access to it again soo. Your support has always encouraged me. Thank you. But there is no need to miss me. You might not be able to pull the link up at work... but I sure as heck will make sure you read my post via E-MAIL! Muahahahahahaha =)

Spencer... glad you like the disclaimer. I thought of it after I originally posted the review. Last thing I need is right now is to be sued!

Josh Stallings said...

Another fine well written and fun as hell review. The book sounds like my shot of tea. Well done!

Sara Johnson said...

"Sabrina/Kate, another FABULOUS review. By the way, thanks so much (added sarcasm) for making my skin crawl while reading your intro. I had a little infestation myself when I was living in Ogden in the not-so-nice part of town. The book sounds very interesting and I can't wait to hear what happens with Desmond if there is another book."