A fun, relatively quick read and a good way to introduce yourself to the work of this brilliant horror/comedy author. It’s a retelling of the familiar fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood, but one you would barely recognise at first. Harkin Ross, known as Hood because of his penchant for wearing “hoodies,” drives a red truck and has red hair, but he’s in a brutal prison, waiting trial for crimes committed when he was first turned into a werewolf. His life seems bleak, but people are not who they seem and freedom is tantalisingly close.
Hood’s life hasn’t been easy, and there are tough themes at play; abuse, alcoholism, anger issues being the main ones. His story is heartbreaking, but despite this, it was a fun novella to read. Hood is gloriously grumpy and growly, and as the story develops, we begin to understand why and to have sympathy for him. Enter Kenneth, Hood’s burgeoning love interest, and another unexpected ally, and you get a lot of story packed into a small, perfectly-formed, bloody, gritty package.
And a retelling of Red Riding Hood wouldn’t be complete without the “What big teeth you have,” scene. I’m happy to report this does not disappoint. It’s a really sweet scene in a deliciously gritty story.
Harkin Ross, otherwise known as Hood, hasn’t had a happy childhood. His mother died in childbirth and his older brother perished in an unusual accident on the family farm. Hood’s father hasn’t coped well over the years. He’s spiraled into a black hole of anger, alcoholism, and abuse.
But when Kenneth Lowell is hired as the family farmhand, Hood’s life vastly improves. Kenneth earns Hood’s trust and friendship while teaching Hood some basic mechanical skills, helping Hood get his red Dodge Dart up and running.
Kenneth, however, is hiding a violent and primal secret of his own. When Hood’s father discovers the hired hand is doing more than just yard work, the weekly trip to Grandpa’s house goes all to hell.