Reincarnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner


ReincarnageHave you ever wished you could read a slasher movie? There actually are some novelizations of Friday the 13th, which I haven’t read but I always keep an eye out for them at used book stores.

This week’s offering is Reincarnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner, two authors who clearly love the genre. It isn’t really like Friday the 13th, at least not the original. It’s like one of the later sequels where Jason is damn near unkillable and his kills are creative and brutal.

The book opens with a group of different people waking up in a motel that hasn’t been redecorated since the eighties. It turns out they’re in the town of Morgan where the crazed Vietnam-vet known as Agent Orange went on an infamous rampage. When people realized that Agent Orange just came back every time after he was killed the town was evacuated and walled-up. Since his original spree, Agent Orange has claimed several towns near Morgan. Now, a group of people are trapped in Agent Orange’s territory with no memory of how they got there and Agent Orange is picking them off one by one.

The book isn’t a challenging read but it’s fun and wonderfully gory. What I like about books more than movies is that when something scary happens my mind fills in the blanks. This book will get under your skin if you’re a reader like that. Reincarnage features an atmospheric setting with an unstoppable killer and some memorable kills, like disembowelment via harpoon gun. That scene sticks with you.

What I appreciate about Reincarnage is the truly cool Final Girl and how tough and formidable some of the women are. I’m not saying who she is but I loved watching the Final Girl set up her trap for Agent Orange. You can tell how much the authors enjoy the genre so I enjoyed finding things like part of the story being set in room 237. Like The Shining’s room 237, there’s an ugly surprise.

The only problem I had with this book was how heavy-handed some of its themes were. The victims in the book come to the conclusion that the government kidnapped them and dropped them in Morgan to satiate Agent Orange’s bloodlust. So there are passages like this;

In the name of increased security and safety, individuals gave up their privacy and a certain degree of liberty because a bunch of terrorists got lucky. Once a government started making decisions based on the ‘greater good’ to maintain the public’s safety, wasn’t it bound to lead to an extreme like this? (180).

I’m not arguing with the message, I just wish that the readers were able to come to this conclusion themselves. One character in particular, Patrick, seems to know all about the government connection to the events in Morgan. He’s kind of like a Greek chorus with monologues similar to that passage. My main complaint is that the delivery lacks subtlety.

The book is definitely an enjoyable read and the ending was absolutely perfect. This should be on the reading list of anyone who’s wondered what a slasher would be like as a book.

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Book Cover Blurb:

In the 80’s a supernatural killer known as Agent Orange terrorized the United States. No matter how many times he was killed, he kept coming back to spread death and mayhem. With no other choice, the government walled off the small town, woods, and lake that Agent Orange used as his hunting ground. This seemed to contain the killer and his killing sprees ended.

Or so the populace thought…

But really, the government has been kidnapping citizens and giving them to Agent Orange to sate his blood lust. A group of people from all walks of life now find themselves trapped and fighting for their lives against an unstoppable killer.

REINCARNAGE is a blood-splattered meta-tribute to the slasher genre.