Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Red: An Extreme Horror Novelette by D.J. Doyle is the story of Todd Jenkins (formerly known as Dwayne) and his blood lust for all things red. Red lipstick, red books, red kerchiefs...all souvenirs taken off women who became his prisoners. Told in the first person, Todd reveals his history with "princesses" and the highs and lows of each prisoner, which always culminated with a violent act of sodomy and the lapping up of their blood once they'd stopped appreciating him. His conquests are detailed and his methods are severe. "My favorite is the small baseball bat with the push-up button that released a head full of nails at the top of the bat. It took hours to hollow out the middle, carve every hole, and connect every nail to the same metal piece in the middle, but it was worth it. My masterpiece." When he meets, drugs, and makes Amanda his captive, the story takes an especially unexpected turn in a narrative where unpredictability begins to feel like compos mentis.
Red by D.J. Doyle is not for the faint of heart. A psychological slasher thriller, Doyle reveals the backstory of Todd Jenkins methodically. As we begin to understand (as well as anyone is able to understand a psychopath), Doyle is able to do the unthinkable: endear Todd to the reader. Yes, you've read that correctly. While Red is written simply, something about the narrative drew me to actually feel sorry for Todd. The same Todd who violently kidnaps, violates, tortures, and kills women. That's a massive feat for a novelette where character development is usually limited by word count. If you enjoy a quick read with all of the qualities of American Psycho, give Red a read. You'll probably regret it...but only if others find out that you enjoyed it (which you most certainly will).