Having previously read a few books by Shane McKenzie, I wasn't expecting all that much from this short novella. Each of those efforts had been fair to middling, but nothing had bent me over its knee and given my lilly-white behind a good paddlin'.
Well that all changed with Bleed On Me, because these 72 pages managed to rock my world in a way I wasn't even aware I needed.
Bleed On Me tells the story of an everyday-shmoe who finds himself embroiled in demons raising themselves from hell, before slowly coming to realise his blood is all that stands between the earth and demon domination. Which probably sounds like a hundred other books before it, but trust me, McKenzie brings his own spin which totally makes this one worthwhile.
Channeling the spirit of John Carpenter's The Thing McKenzie describes some amazing transformation scenes, with the end result being creatures fit for the wildest of imaginations. Up against these denizens of hell are two men who could at best be described as "unlikely heroes". Their exchanges fit the tone of the story well, and serve to flesh out their characters in satisfying ways. The pacing of the novella is also lightning fast. There is virtually no word wasted as McKenzie unleashes his own version of hell on earth.
Ultimately, Bleed On Me is just about the complete package. It is outrageously inventive, original, gore-laden, and features some memorable set pieces. My only complaint is the lack of explanation for why the protagonist's blood does what it is able to do.
Otherwise do yourself a favour and check this one out. It will feature highly on my soon to be constructed Top 10 Reads of the Year list.
4.5 Ultra-Rare Blood Types for Bleed On Me.