BOOK REVIEW: Reception by Kenzie Jennings

Terrific characters and some smart twists send this gory family drama into the stratosphere.

RECEPTION is about Ansley, a woman who’s been trying to ease herself off of Benzo after getting a prescription and getting hooked. She’s estranged from her family, but her little sister Shay is getting married, and Ansley is determined she can be there on her sister’s big day. The event is held at a remote resort, no cell signal, and Ansley isn’t sure if her growing discomfort is from her withdrawals or if something more sinister is going on with her little sister’s new in-laws.

TERRIFIC, ferocious debut novelling follows! This book was funny, quirky, well-written, cleverly plotted, and absolutely merciless. It takes its time setting up the location and the characters, but never in a boring or dragging way. The opening is a great hook, and the following chapters develop characters we care for and get attached to. When the action takes off, it’s explosive and surreal, with gore galore and lots of cringe-worthy moments.

The dialogue worked particularly well, flowing naturally and effortlessly, the way real people talk. More than once there were truly chilling lines delivered from some of the villains, and some great “one-liners” are popped off here and there, which add some levity to the grim proceedings.

And the humor…it’s just a perfect fit here. Without the humor, I’m not sure this story would have worked so well. We all have experienced these issues with family and the drama that develops in them, and watching our heroine smart-ass her way through digs from family and other wedding guests was a delight. Then, when things turn sinister, the jokes continue to come and add a level of absurdity to the proceedings, which heightens the tension, rather than causes it to lag. Kenzie Jennings has a firm grip on how to deftly walk the line with horror and comedy, allowing them to blend here to something absolutely natural and perfectly suited to the proceedings.

There is plenty more I could say as I praise this debut novel from an author we should ALL be keeping our eye on, but I fear I may spoil the story, and I dare not do that to you. It’s just too good, and I don’t want to take from you the joy of experiencing this novel in its fullness. If you like horror, cannibalism, comedy, fish out of water stories, etc., you’ll LOVE this gem from Ms. Jennings. I can’t recommend it enough and urge you to go fetch a couple of copies. Read one, give another away, and pass the word.

THIS is how you release a debut novel…teeth bared and fists swinging. Don’t miss this. Find it in print and digital here.

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