Written by Jan Kozlowski
Published by Ravenous Shadows
As a huge fan of the rape/revenge subgenre, I was delighted to find it the subject of author Jan Kozlowski’s Die, You Bastard! Die! It’s not so much the sexual violence that entices, but it almost never fails to be a prelude to a really effective catharsis. Stories like I Spit on Your Grave wouldn’t work nearly as well if the initial ‘wronging’ didn’t pack a punch. And that’s exactly why Die, You Bastard! Die emerges as a pitch-perfect example of its subgenre. It grabs you from the beginning and never lets go.
It’s also worth nothing that author Kozlowski isn’t compelled to cook up a new approach for this well-traveled road. Instead she relies on strong characterization and quick, crisp writing to get the job done. The end result is a story that hits all the right notes and manages considerable suspense and tension – all while being an easily digestible read. Never longer than it needs to be, it’s welcome relief in this age of indulgent authors and grossly overlong fiction.
The story is straightforward: Claire is a paramedic who reluctantly faces down her abusive father after he winds up hospitalized. He’s a repeat sexual offender who’s skirted justice time and time again for a number of years. But his overly-apologetic, regrettable tone when confronted by Claire throws her off. He’s released from the hospital and Claire agrees to drive him back home to an isolated summer camp cottage. I won’t elaborate any further as there are some revelations and surprises to be had, but let’s just say the worst isn’t yet over for Claire.
It’s a nasty story and Kozlowski isn’t shy about capturing every last gritty detail of repugnance along the way. The sexual abuse is chronicled in a way that makes the skin crawl, with the violence coming off equally visceral. She also manages to create some colorful, over-the-top villains for the story. Yes, they may be a little too at times, but these wacked out personalities actually heighten the fun, especially when the vengeance part of the story kicks into high gear.
Die, You Bastard! Die! is like a perfectly executed revenge/thriller and fans of 70s style exploitation will eat this up. Those looking for a well told story of vengeance will also find a lot of like about this one. It certainly delivers exactly what you’re looking for. I was quite pleased with Jan Kozlowski’s effort, and will be keeping an eye out for whatever she writes next. Totally recommended.
4 1/2 out of 5