Review: Roadkill / Author: Joseph D’Lacey / Publisher: This Is Horror / Release Date: June 8th
The fourth in This Is Horror's series of chapbooks is upon us and continues what has been a strong line-up of releases thus far.
If you are unfamiliar with D’Lacey’s work, then you’d do well to pick up some of his previous full length novels. He is a strong believer in the environment and has covered meat eating (Meat) and the impact our consumerism is having on the world (Garbage Man). Themes which have tipped over into this short, sharp story.
We are thrust into the events of a race that takes place in the near future. A race that only takes about one hundred seconds from start to finish, but is so vividly portrayed that you find yourself being dragged along for the ride as if your coat had got stuck in the door just as the cars drove off.
Our unnamed protagonist is racing a Vindicator (or V) against a female, who’s driving a Dubb, wheel to wheel and occasionally bumper to bumper as they race towards a finish line. They have to avoid potholes and pillars that serve as obstacles, and both have moments of doubt, but both are similarly determined to reach the finish line first and Converge and therefore join the Boymen. They are racing a patch of road named the Final Five, or Seeker’s Stretch and at speeds topping 180mph, there is no room for error or lapses of judgement.
Yes, there are some confusing names and phrases used, but like all good fantasy stories, if you allow yourself to be sucked into the story, it all kind of makes sense. At the speeds mentioned, it is quite literally a white knuckle ride as you follow the events unfolding. It feels like you are reading the thoughts of a video game character and invokes memories of classic films such as Vanishing Point and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Roadkill is punchy and written like a breathless race to the finish line of oblivion and the cover wonderfully evokes the old Grindhouse features from long ago. It’s a treat.