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Blackwood, Vermont has one legend to its name—Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Every local kid knows him and tells his stories, esp...

Review || Benny Rose, The Cannibal King by Hailey Piper

Blackwood, Vermont has one legend to its name—Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Every local kid knows him and tells his stories, especially on Halloween. When a new girl moves to town in the autumn of 1987, the legend inspires high school junior Desiree St. Fleur and her friends to pull a Benny Rose-themed prank. A few laughs and screams, and they’ll have a Happy Halloween.
But a vicious storm crashes into Blackwood and interrupts the festivities. Soon the girls find themselves trapped and hunted in a strange neighborhood where no one will help them. There’s nothing made-up about Benny Rose this Halloween night. The truth is coming, and it's hungry.


Welcome to Blackwood: Small town, nothing to do, bored teens. Ah, but near Halloween, this little dull as dishwater town transforms. With their own urban legend of Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, Halloween is "Blackwood's thing". 

Piper excels at setting the stage for horror. No time is wasted in creating a brutal backstory, nor is there any anticipating action. Piper cleverly gives us just a taste of what's to come before she redirects our attention to the characters, a group of high school juniors deciding to prank the new girl in town.  The trap is set swiftly as new girl, Gabrielle, is roped into having a slumber party at her house while her grandma's away.  However, the Glade Street Retirement Community, the only street in Blackwood not decorated for Halloween, has its own secrets to tell.

Powerful and descriptive verbiage, amongst other things, makes this novella a delight to read. The carnage Benny Rose leaves in his wake is blood-splattered and frightful. On the surface, a tale of a carnivorous supernatural fiend would seem fairly straightforward, but Hailey Piper never takes you where you are expecting to go. Benny Rose leads you on a merry, fear-filled chase and ultimately delivers you where you never anticipated. The girls prove to be mighty adversaries, strong and courageous, but are they tough enough to take down Blackwood's idolized killer cannibal?

There are authors whose particular style and voice secure them a place on the bookshelves of readers. Hailey Piper has so far shown that she is a force to be reckoned with in the horror genre and Benny Rose cements that.