By Edward R. Rosick
Thurston Howl Publications, $10.99, 352 pages, Format: Trade
Star Rating: 4.5 / 5
Deep Roots tells the surreal story of a man named Kevin who has just recently been released from prison after serving six years. While in prison, he finds himself in some trouble and a man named Charles Readona and his group of followers offer protection in exchange for Kevin killing a seventeen-year-old boy. Readona does what he wants with his followers and that includes tattooing and scarring Kevin while in jail. Kevin tries to start life anew once he gets out of the slammer and Detroit really seems like a dark and dangerous place to do so. While he can't get out of Michigan quite yet, Kevin does his best to get a job at a local small record shop. He also ends up meeting a group of performers through his best friend Caesar and starts dating one of them, a woman named Sherri.
This book is full of things that a normal person would do such as go out with friends and find a girlfriend. There are, however, several twists in this book that make it disturbing, yet the reader will not be able to turn away from it. For example, the show that the performers put on is sensual, erotic, and on the verge of grotesque with plastic surgery to make the characters perform oddities such as shooting fire out of their genitals.
Kevin finds himself waking up with a bump on his shoulder and it's nothing like he has ever seen before. He thinks it may just be an ingrown hair or an infected zit, but then these bumps start showing up in other places including under his genitalia. Then a hair starts growing out of each bump and these hairs seem to have a life of their own. They wiggle and move on their own. This, of course, would freak anyone out and is something straight out of the Twilight Zone. For most of the book, Kevin is trying to figure out whom to see about these weird growths he has. He ends up drugged and drunk most of the time, popping Oxycontin and drinking Makers Mark to mask the pain of the bumps while trying to figure out what it is that he should do about the bumps.
This book is a wild rollercoaster ride and following Kevin is like being in a car with a drunk driver. His out-of-control temper and lack of common sense make for a character that the reader won't feel sorry for but will make one wonder what will happen to Kevin. Enjoyable, yet creepy and weird, Deep Roots is perfect for fans of Stephen King and the likes.
Reviewed by Kristi Elizabeth
"Ed Rosick seems intent upon becoming a peculiarly 21st Century American-Heartland version of the great British horror-meisters of the 20th Century -- with the added distinction of some of the creepiest physiological twists I've encountered."
Rosick’s repellent characters in “Deep Roots” leap off the page–and the sins of their pasts play out in the most literal and horrifying of ways. I was hanging on until the very end.
"Make no mistake, Deep Roots is brutal and unpleasant. It'll make you squirm, it will haunt your nightmares and make your skin crawl. But at the same time, there's humanity here, rising up against implacable odds. A tale of disenfranchisemnent and survival in the face of horrible adversity."