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Sonja Ska Reviews, 1/25/2024

There's truly nothing better than women who are willing to get their hands bloody. To celebrate those that are just as dangerous when it comes to life and death situations, Thursday’s reviews are all about ladies who will do anything to get to safety.


The New Girl's Patient

by Ruthann Jagge

Sometimes, you want a slow-burn novel that will steep you in atmospheric tension, and sometimes, you want an intense, fast-paced survival horror with witchy undertones that will leave you absolutely reeling. For anyone searching for the latter, The New Girl's Patient is for you. 

Brutal abduction stories aren't new, but there's something undeniably satisfying watching Jagge twist the damsel in distress narrative after Jamie and her co-workers get abducted during their shift at the hospital. The horrible night begins with Jamie inheriting a recipe book from a patient who passed away and ends with her fighting for her life after she's attacked and left bound and gagged in a dingy basement.

Gritty, dark, and disturbing, Jagge creates the perfect portrait of the desperation that lingers in a dying town, but more importantly, brings to life a woman who can easily stand within the ranks of Sidney Prescott and Maxine Minx. 


Red Station

By Kenzie Jennings

A group of weary stagecoach passengers stop at a station home on their way across the plains, but what was supposed to be a night of respite quickly spirals into something far more sinister.

On the surface, Red Station delivers a tight, action-packed, and bloody story that's easy with body counts and gore. The western-turned-slasher knows how to have fun, and if nothing else, readers will walk away entertained. But the true strength of Red Station goes beyond the hack-and-slash fight for survival and has everything to do with the protagonist, Clyde Northway. Where most Westerns have a rough-and-tough gunslinger leading the herd, Red Station has 'the woman in red', and it's so much better off for it. Honestly, I want to be Clyde Northway. 

Brilliant protagonist aside, Red Station uses its word count in its favor, cutting out everything that doesn't serve the story. Every character feels three-dimensional and real, breathing life into the setting, the awful house, and the twisted situation they find themselves in. While it's fun watching people get cut into pieces, Jenning's makes every kill hurt by making you care about everyone from the beginning. But don't let the death count of the fact that it's splatterpunk scare you - even those with a weak stomach should be able to sit through the gore and trust me, it's well worth it. 

If you told me a year ago that I would be obsessed with horror westerns, I would have laughed you straight out of the saloon, yet here I am, and I fully blame Kenzie Jennings and the Woman in Red. 

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