Road Kill: Stuart Yates
Peace comes to many in different ways. Sometimes it’s from a hot cup of tea and to others like Ralph being within the confines of the Moor. Alone with his thoughts, contemplating his meager life and hating his mundane existence his journey into another world begins. Within this moor ore moorland a beast stalks the downtrodden and the gloomy. No one knows what it is only that it comes from the blackest and most horrifying thoughts or dreams of a person. When our main character begins thinking and creating his own visions of his life within his mind something changes it all as he hits a deer with his car and decides right then and there on a new course for his life. Rather than bury the deer he places the body in the back of his car, his mind overtaken by death and the rush of killing something is like drinking a dangerous elixir and it overtakes his mind and body. Sometimes a simple act can create or set off a chain of events of horrific forcing the victim to change his/her own life in order to please someone else. In this case it is an unknown force or beast that seeks out its victims and kills them so fast and so viciously eating their flesh in such a way you would think it was a banquet.
One man who hates his life yet finds another source of satisfaction killing things and bringing them home for dinner. But, first let’s meet Mr. Salmon, a new teacher in a school whose employees seem quite odd, the situation quite eerie and the warnings quite grim. One whole day and this man starts to realize that maybe this school is different and the head master and one head teacher relate not gossip, but rules about behavior, socializing and fitting in. Proper decorum, dress and understanding that everyone meddles into everyone’s business and you cannot hide anything, alerts the reader that the walls have ears and you’d better tread carefully when entering this building.
Ralph, our protagonist enters his office the following day and although needing a few minutes to himself to gather his thoughts, his boss briskly interrupts him with the new guidelines and rules of the insurance company he works for and relates that claims are not to be paid and new restrictions adhered. So, when he calls a claimant asking to visit in order to check out his claim the discussion on the phone is quite unique, the end result no one is happy and the final outcome is a bitter Ralph. But, there is more as he relates his day to his wife who could care less while eating dinner. As the story progresses we begin to see changes within Ralph that he cannot control. His temper flares, his attitude is brisk and his temperament rude. Ralph does not realize what is happening to him and although his fellow workers try to enlighten him and take away some of his burden his reactions are over the top. Told to take a day off he exists, but not quietly, and heads for the moor where he revamps and reassess his life and creates a new plan.
Flashing to Mr. Salmon our first year teacher we learn more about him, his feelings about his job and his decision to join his fellow colleague for a drink. But, something about the demeanor of a man named Fearn the head of governors disturbs him as we hear their conversation in the bar and understand how so many downplay educators, think they have it easy and find remarks like the vacation is good more than just irritating. But, as an educator the author is spot on and right on points as so many think people have the same thoughts about teachers and never realize just how dedicated we are.
The story continues with Mr. Salmon as he remembers what Fearn relates about a murder on the Moor, the loneliness and coldness of the place and decides to investigate the exact spot of this woman named Katie’s murder. Taking the route, following the path and finding himself at the place where the murder took place he sees something that causes him to shudder. A house, a light and the specter or shadow of a figure. Some same that a Beast haunts the Moor that takes control and takes over and kills. Some might say it overtakes a person’s soul causing them to do its bidding. When relating his experience to Fearn he senses something but cannot place what it is other than being near the man makes him feel uneasy and inferior. His condescending remarks and demeanor make him shudder. His actions are at times questionable. What is or who is the Beast of Bodmin has yet to be revealed.
Things change for both Ralph and Salmon as someone is watching Ralph take the dead animals hope and Salmon seems determined to find out more about the house. When taking a group of children on a field trip to the moor what they discover in the house is more than just disturbing. Road Kill: Picture a dead animal on the road. Picture a dead animal in front of your car. Picture hitting a deer with your car and leaving it there and not calling anyone to take it away. Road Kill: Another name for these dead animals. One man’s kill another man’s meal! Sick, but true but there is much more to come.
Each time Salmon seems to break through his shell someone warns him about how people react to many situations, speaking your mind and begin aware of how you express yourself and the friendships you keep. Everyone is into everyone’s business in this place. But, this is a story about two men: Ralph and Peter Salmon who both seem haunted by their past and present. One man has become a murderer, killer and torturer. The other man trying to compete for one woman sought after by many added in our teacher seems to have an uneasy feeling when it comes to Fearn and to the caretaker of the school who have disappeared. The BBC seems interested in creating a film about the Moor; an accident alerts authorities that something took the lives of a family but what. Just who is this monster that seems to appear, kill and disappear? Why does Ralph go off and why does he decide to take more than just simple matters into this hand in order to rid himself of anyone that stands in his way of getting what he wants? Just how many more murders are committed? Why?
Some say that the monster is a man others think it might be something else. As Salmon becomes involved with someone another person wants his hide. One man seeks revenge on anyone who has ever haunted, bother or taunted him and his mode of murder is far more gruesome than Mr. Hyde or Jack the Ripper. Relationships heat up some more than others. Revenge comes from many different sides and the end result leaves readers wondering just who is the monster? Is the monster really gone? Just who committed the murders and did they catch the person? What about Salmon? Will he remain or will he decide to take a position somewhere else?
A community riddled with so much evil at times it is hard to sort through to find the good. Children that are innocent but whose eyes see more than most should. A school that seems to be run by those who have their own agenda and do not easily bend or yield. Just what is next for Peter Salmon? What about this community and all that have happened? Road Kill: animals killed or hit by a motor vehicle or someone that has failed and been defeated in many ways and feels no longer worthy of consideration. Ralph: Which definition fits him? You decide?
Characters so well defined and scenes right out a Steven King Novel or an episode of the Bates Motel, author Stuart Yates definitely has the pulse on horror, science fiction and equal to a both a Dean Koontz and Anne Rice novel. Once again author Stuart Yates takes readers inside the mind of a murderer who not only justifies his actions and feelings within his own mind but also makes you wonder whether the animals killed were the real Road Kill or him.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Let’s give this one: FIVE Peaceful Nights in The Moor filled with Five Golden Stars Shining In the Night Sky!