‘The dark wants to eat me. I’ve spent long enough in dark places to know. I’m underground, buried deep, soil cramming into my mouth. The nightmare I’ve had since I was a kid. All I have to do is choke it down, fight the clawing panic, surrender to the shadows, but that would mean giving in, and Rumer Cross is no fucking coward.’
Vicious Rumer is an upcoming crime horror book from author and film journalist Joshua Winning.
The book is written from the point of view of Rumer Cross, a nineteen year old girl living in London. Rumer begins the book working for a detective agency, where she is employed to follow people around, catching evidence of her targets cheating on their wives, screwing over their employers, or generally just being jerks.
Rumer had bounced around between foster homes and the streets growing up, which has made her into hard and cynical young woman. Along with this, she has also had to deal with the legacy of her long dead mother, a mob assassin and criminal known as the ‘Witch Assassin’, responsible for some of the most bloodthirsty crimes the country has ever seen.
When Rumer is kidnapped by a vicious crime lord who believes that she’s hiding a bizarre occult relic Rumer’s simple life is thrown into turmoil. On the run and hunted by criminals and killers Rumer must try to find out who is after her, what it is they’re after, and how to stop them. Along the way Rumer must also confront the possibility that she might be cursed; a horrific legacy left behind by her occult obsessed mother that kills anyone who becomes close to her.
Vicious Rumer manages to combine real world elements of crime thriller and the occult in interesting ways to create a story that feels like it belongs in the real world, yet also skirts into the mystical with little difficulty. Two of the main story threads of the book concern the mysterious artifact that the bad guys are after, and Rumer’s apparent curse, both of which are recurring narratives throughout the book.
Despite there being such a heavy focus on the occult and magic, Killing Rumer never makes anything overt. There are no people practicing black magic, there isn’t anyone throwing spells at each other or anything like that, but come the end of the book you’re left wondering if magic and the occult actually do exist in this universe.
It’s a clever and compelling tightrope that the author treads, managing to make numerous situations that support the idea that the supernatural does exist, whilst also offering very real world explanations that makes the whole thing seem ridiculous. Even the very last moments of the book manages to throw in one last complication that makes you question the events that you’ve just read, and what might actually be real.
Rumer is an interesting and very human character, one that has her fair share of flaws and makes mistakes throughout the story. Whilst at first she comes across as someone a little too cold as the story progresses and you learn more about her and her past it becomes easy to understand how she ended up being the person she is.
She feels vulnerable beneath her hard exterior, a young woman desperate to find her place in the world and to be able to be happy, yet struggling against the fears and insecurities of her troubled past. This makes her a very real and relatable character, one that you’ll find yourself very invested in.
Vicious Rumer is an engaging mystery story that incorporates several other genres in interesting ways, creating a unique experience. A must read.
Vicious Rumer is now available to buy on Amazon.