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Burden Kansas by Alan Ryker

Burden Kansas (edition 2011)

by Alan Ryker

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4821242,697 (3.75)1
Title:Burden Kansas
Authors:Alan Ryker
Info:Sucker Punch Press (2011), Kindle Edition
Collections:Your library

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Burden Kansas by Alan Ryker



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In a small town in Kansas, cattle are getting attacked. Some are torn apart, while others get away with a little blood loss and some strange sort of virus. The target of the contagion isn't bovine, after all: it's human. Keith Harris, an angry man with a weak sense of self control, is the first to come across the vampires, and his actions set off a twisted chain of events that delves into the darkness lurking within us all.

For a novella of its limited length, Burden Kansas does a superb job setting up its characters and fleshing out pasts through passing comments and very brief explanations. The mix of man and monster in Keith's psyche is superbly done, and one is as horrified as one is sympathetic with the choices he has made over the course of his life. Dennis's fear and impotent sense of rage feels genuine, and it is this understanding of everyone's motivations that make the events in this supernatural story wholly believable.

The story itself is told in short, choppy prose, which the author has described as "the minimal voice of the western." It is indeed minimalist, which sets and edgier tone to the tale and blends well with Keith's voice and perspective. It does lend itself to some redundancies, and I would have appreciated more diversity of word choice, but as a whole, the style works quite well.

One of the main advantages of this story, I believe, is that the content was suited to its length. The story moved along steadily, and the final denouement, while somewhat open-ended, felt conclusive enough. The book makes for a quick, interesting read, though it may be a little too dark for an afternoon at the beach.

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  hideandread | Jun 24, 2012 |
Super impressed!

If you are looking for sparkly vamps, you won't find them here!

Ryker has written a vampire story where the vamps are smelly, underground-dwelling, desperate, cow's-blood-drinkers. Keith Harris, the main character is tough as nails and the story ends up being a quick, but fulfilling vampire story. ( )
  enewt823 | Jan 30, 2012 |
If you've come upon this story expecting a romanticized, pretty version of the vampire, move along. This is horror, gritty and bloody. It's also very good.

The western flair of the Midwest setting gives the horror vampire an entirely new feel. No castles and black velvet here. The hero, Keith, is a cowboy. He's tough in the way all good cowboys are, and has troubles aplenty.

The story moves fast, and if I have any complaint, it's that it ended too quickly. A good read, worth the time of any horror lover. ( )
  Coralmoore | Nov 20, 2011 |
Burden Kansas, written by Alan Ryker, is a breath of bloody, evil, stinking, fresh air for anyone who enjoys the vampire genre. There aren’t any touching love scenes to be had in this fast-paced, brutal, in-your-face story. What you will get is a story about a man who is forced to fight his inner demons as well as the monsters roaming the Kansas plains.As we follow the main character, Keith, and his brother, Roy, we learn that Keith is a tortured soul. You can’t help but feel sadness for him as he sits on his front porch dreaming of his dead wife and sipping at his guilt just as he does at the whiskey in his glass. What happens next is a whirlwind of action as Keith captures one of the creatures responsible for the local cattle mutilations. From there, a turn of events begins to pull the reader into a story of a bloodthirsty vampire, bent on revenge and carnage that will keep you reading far into the night. If you like your vamps mean, evil, and ugly then this is a book for you. ( )
  JayKrow | Aug 27, 2011 |
Burden Kansas is probably the best vampire thriller that I’ve ever read. It’s a dark and gritty antidote to all of the vampire romances that have been flooding the market. ( )
  amanda4242 | Jul 26, 2011 |
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Book description
In the wake of pretty-boy Vampires & sweet Southern faerie vamp lovers, comes Alan Ryker, trailing behind him the real thing.  Vampires...ugly, animal-like, smelly, and mean...and one (one town dealer) who has a semblance of intelligence left....just enough to spawn cruel vengeance.  Add in a "hero" who isn't, whom you love to hate (or at least I did), and you have a real, modern-day Vampire thriller.  

It takes place in the farmlands of Kansas, where something has been slaughtering cattle. The local sheriff calls in an expert, but no one can figure out quite what is going on.  No one, that is, but Keith Harris, our hero (sort of), who discovers & figures out the mystery and takes the solution into his own hands. Keith has his own struggles to contend with, and soon we begin to wonder who the true monster really is.

This is an excellent novella for those who pine for mean, ruthless, vampires who stalk their prey and ruthlessly devour them.  The only negative I could say about it, is that it wasn't long enough! 

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