Both are revealed pretty early on, so can safely be talked about without fear of spoilers. Blood RED actually comprises of two interlinked stories, the novella Red and the short title novel. The gory opening scene of Red, where someone comes to a very unpleasant fate in a restaurant toilet, lets the reader know the first twist Kane has on standard lycanthropy: his shape-shifters can look like anyone when they change back to human form. It’s a change that makes intrinsic sense–if a creature can change its body-form so completely, why would it always need to look like the same person?–and adds a atmosphere of paranoia to the story. Red’s central character is a young woman called Rachel, a carer whose work takes her into some of her home city’s grimmest and dangerous housing estates. It’s an urban setting that completely suits the new contemporary, paranoid style of Kane’s narrative, as Rachel is hunted by a creature that could look like anyone.
The second twist Kane brings to his werewolf tales is that it soon becomes clear that despite its modern setting of concrete sink estates and cheap nightclubs, Red is actually a clever retelling of that much older tale, Red Riding Hood. This isn’t just a clever meta-textual trick (although the way Kane works echoes of the fairy tale into his story is clever) but is actually part of the fictional world as well, forming a key part of the creature’s motivation.
Blood RED follows directly on from the events in Red, hence is harder to talk about without spoilers. Whilst the folk tale echoes are less overt than in Red, the concluding novel still provides plenty of interesting twists on the werewolf formula. There’s a touch of Dracula about the narrative as well, as a band of characters gather together to hunt out the creature which has wreaked so much havoc in Rachel’s life.
The style of these two stories is very much old-school eighties horror, with plenty of gore and a smattering of sexiness. Kane sure knows how to write an action scene, and as the narrative progresses and the stakes are raised the set-pieces only get bigger and more dramatically constructed. Few horror stories described as ‘page-turners’ actually deserve the term, but Blood RED is an exception.
Blood RED (UK US)