Years ago, a friend of mine compared listening and enjoying black metal to masochism. “No one really enjoys it at first,” he said. I’ve become a fan of black metal over the years, and like black metal, I did not enjoy Bloody Sheets by Andy Rausch at first.
The book starts off on a very serious note – it’s dedicated to Emmett Till and is prefaced by a quote from Malcom X. At this point I’m expecting To Kill a Mockingbird. We’re then introduced to Will Cokely, a black kid who’s knocked up his white girlfriend in Gibson Alabama. You see where this is going. For those who don’t, he’s tortured and hanged. Next, we meet Will’s dad, DeRay “Coke” Cokely. Coke is torturing a guy for the mob when his ex-wife calls and informs him that the Klan killed his son and he needs to avenge him.
It took me until about the halfway point to realize that this is a quick and dirty pulp novel with tinges of Tarantino strung throughout. Is there a ton of backstory or characterization? No, who gives a shit anyway, you’re here to read about someone smashing a Klan member’s face with a beamer. How about plot? A hitman gets revenge on the Klan for killing his only son – boom, plotted. Characterization? You get more of this for the protagonists than the antagonists. I felt like every Klansman was a gap tooth bumpkin who was one banjo away from being a Deliverance villain.
As soon as I realized what the book was and what it was trying to do, I was able to enjoy it more. If you’re looking for horror, maybe skip over this one. But if you’re looking for a quick, pulpy, bloody read, this is your book.
DeRay “Coke” Cokely kills some Klan members only to return years later and blow himself up at a Klan rally, thus eliminating the KKK in Gibson. He goes on to become a folk legend.
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