A terrific, short horror story centred around Halloween.
- Review by Kazza K
When Ruthless opens it's Halloween and Ruth is excitedly looking for the love of her life, Cole. What she discovers is another woman's legs wrapped around Cole. Hurt and shocked by her partner on their anniversary, Ruth kills herself. Ordinarily I'd be tough on this one. No-one is worth it, I'd say, but I knew going in what was going to happen. I also like Ruth's narrative/tale so, yeah, no complaints. I can't fully review Ruthless it's too short and I would ruin a good tale.
Basic premise, though, is that Cole Black is a prick. He cheated on Ruth, she killed herself. He played the grieving partner. Assuaged his own guilt by promising to 'be good now' to himself. A leopard can't change its spots; or in this case a lying, rat, bastard can't change his recidivism. So we move along in time and Cole is now married to Grace, with two children, and cheating on his current wife, with Melissa, his current mistress. The telling of the story is so very real. I have seen this, and seen this, and seen this. I loved the way Poppet pulled it together, the way Cole paints his 'miserable existence' to his mistress, Melissa, at his wife, Grace's, hands, against the reality of what his life is really like - you know 'horrible wife, treats me so mean, I'm never appreciated, I love you , going to leave for you......' His wife studies, works, does housework, raises two children, all to help them get to a better life. It is so wonderfully, realistically written.
A lot of this book is played out online between characters that have formed, what I would call, an 'attention seeking troll circle,' those that lie about themselves and look for affection from others who can't see them, don't really know them, and desire the same. You can be anyone online. Sound familiar? Only there is a supernatural, horror theme attached to this short story. It's not all done online but technology helps a ghost :)
Everyone gets a POV in this book, dead, alive, betrayed, innocent. I loved seeing the story unfold from Ruth's, Cole's, Grace's, Melissa's, and Melissa's husband's POV. Loved seeing what they were thinking as things came to a head.
My only complaints with this book is that it wasn't long enough, but, once again, I knew this going in. It's advertised as a short story. That doesn't stop me from wanting it. However, the ending was poetic and took the book full cicle. If you read Ruthless think about the 'prophecy' and also the last line. Perfect, Poppet. Perfect.
Lots of messages - karma is a bitch, baby. It doesn't matter what you look like, people cheat for their own reasons. Also technology, in particular the internet, can be a wonderful yet consuming
master/mistress all at the same time.
Poppet is an unusual author in her style, but it's a damn good style. She is masterful at painting visual imagery and creating a feeling inside the reader, pulling a depth of emotion out, building a tale of pure imagination and interest. I wasn't sure going into Ruthless, for personal reasons, glad I did though. From the title on it's a great ride, I only stopped to add status updates, so I really was invested. I had an idea of what was going to happen - just not how, by whom, and to what extent. If you're in the mood for a horror short, it's around Halloween in America now, grab a copy and have a read. Loved it!