Entry Wounds, by Brandon McNulty
(Please note: the inciting incident of the story is revealed in this review.)
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
Are you having a good week so far?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Entry Wounds, an intriguing supernatural thriller by Brandon McNulty.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Unassertive substitute teacher Ken Fujima has been waiting for a full time position to open up at his current school. However, after the position is given to someone-else, Ken soon finds his world turned upside-down.
With his father killed by two strangers and a mysterious gun now fused to his hand, he has no choice but to kill six people in order to regain his freedom from the gun’s cruel possession.
Will Ken be the same man after taking so many lives?
Will battling the gun’s homicidal urges prove too much for him?
Most importantly, will he manage to find six people who deserve to die?
Ken Fujima is a high school substitute teacher, whose students adore him. Throughout the novel, I watched him grow from an unassuming man who didn’t seem sure of himself, to a man of action, who refused to allow others to treat him like a doormat. Ken’s transformation was well executed, with his unusual circumstances forcing him to make one of the most difficult decisions a person can face, whether to take a human life. In general, I found Ken to be caring and sweet. He didn’t seem like the killing type.
Despite the profound changes Ken went through on his personal journey, there was still that glimmer of sweetness lying beneath the surface of a somewhat darker exterior. I can’t say I liked Ken every moment of the story, however, I did admire his strength of will to keep going even in the darkest of times. Even when faced with an overwhelming lust for blood, his true self was still able to turn away from senseless murder if it wasn’t truly deserved.
Angela was an equally fascinating character in her own right, acting as Ken’s love interest. A fellow teacher at the same high school, Angela initially came across as smart and confident, with a seductive flare that was hard to miss. As the story continued, I noticed a deep sadness to her, one that hid beneath the surface of her beauty and confident façade. However, the more I encountered her in the story, the more something felt off about her in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Later on, I finally understood why that was (no spoilers here, I promise.) While I really wanted to like Angela, the more I got to know her, the more I found her to be unpredictable and dishonest.
Next, we come to Hannah, co-accomplice in the murder of Ken’s father. After the mysterious gun becomes fused to Ken’s hand, Hannah agrees to support him as he works to free himself from the gun’s evil impulses, in exchange for having spared her life despite her previous actions. At first, I disliked her, mostly due to the part she played in Ken’s grief. She had the habit of being sneaky and I found myself unsure if I (or Ken for that matter) could trust her. On the other hand, the more I learned about her past and the tragedy that had befallen her and her sister, the more I sympathised with her and understood the root of her actions and could find myself forgiving her.
Finally, let’s briefly discuss Ken’s brother, Robby. Personally, I didn’t find a single redeeming feature in him, mainly because I’ve known a hardcore drug addict and the ways they interact with others and the world around them. Although part of me wanted to sympathise with Robby and the constant pain he feels he must shoot away with drugs, my personal experience clouded my view of him and had me disliking him from the off. Additionally, the way he often acted like a petulant child, making careless decisions that could cause harm to others (including his brother) made it harder to warm to him in general.
There was a lot that I personally liked about Entry Wounds, examples of which I have detailed below.
- The author’s writing style calls to mind vivid images and builds tension in a masterful way, causing your heart to thump as you anticipate what will happen next.
- The plot moves along steadily, with various turning points pushing the story forward. In some cases, unexpected twists sent the story in a completely different direction from the one I initially thought it would take.
- The main characters were well developed, each with their own personal issues that motivated them on their shared journey.
- The idea of the gun and its inner workings was fascinating and made for an interesting story concept.
- The author has a way of persuading you to sympathise with most, if not all the characters involved, even those you may have started the book hating.
- The story was peppered with fun, humorous moments, which gave the book a much-needed lift from its darker points. Often, these humorous moments involved Ken and Angela, who shared a natural chemistry.
- The subtle details the author pays attention to, such as the physical setting and the meaningful items dotted around people’s dwellings, really helped to make the story feel real.
In this book, I found no negative aspects. The story was well written, well edited, and shook me to my core.
Throughout the novel, two specific quotes stood out to me, which I would like to share with you now.
1) ‘Behind every wheel sat a human being with hopes, dreams, problems, and secrets.’
This quote make me think about how similar we all are, how we each struggle with our own internal wants and issues, battling through the days in the hope that our problems will cease to exist.
2) ‘Ken’s desire to preserve life raged against his need to take it.’
This quote is the perfect example to illustrate how Ken held onto his true self despite being overwhelmed by the mysterious gun’s need for bloodshed. In the end, Ken’s caring nature triumphed over the gun’s dark impulses. He didn’t lose himself to its power as he initially feared.
Overall, Entry Wounds was a gripping and thought-provoking supernatural thriller. It was the story of a devoted school-teacher, forced to battle the homicidal urges of a mysterious weapon, as well as battling himself.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommend to: Lovers of supernatural thrillers with unusual plots and memorable characters.
As a side note, there is one somewhat detailed, romantic but erotic love scene in the book, so readers under eighteen years old may not find this book suitable.
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