Kate's Reviews > Shotgun Gravy

Shotgun Gravy by Chuck Wendig
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Oct 18, 11

really liked it
Read from October 14 to 17, 2011

I'm going to come right out and say it - Atlanta Burns is not a likable character. She is surly (often outright mean), sulky, casually racist, and violent. In the hands of most authors, this would make the novella D.O.A. But somehow Wendig turns this girl into someone who you want to read along with. She won't make you fall in love with her, but she will compel you forward.

Where Wendig really shines, however, is (as always) his amazing powers of description. He has taken the setting of a rural Pennsylvania town and made sure you could spot all the cracks in the asphalt, smell the pine sap in the air, and feel the oppression hanging in the air. It could be small-town anywhere while still maintaining it's distinctly Pennsylvania identity. And he does this with so few words it's staggering to think about later.

Unfortunately, I think Wendig might have used too few words. No doubt this is a fast-paced rural romp of crime and punishment, but I found myself wishing he'd slow down just a little and give us a few breathers. Shane and Chris don't quite feel like full characters in the shadow that is Atlanta Burns. Many of the villains only have hints of depth. Shotgun Gravy could have easily been much longer without losing any impact. But I understand that Wendig is going for an episodic feel, so I hope we see these missing character building moments as the series goes on.

If you love crime fiction of the dark, gritty, country-fried variety, this is a novella for you. If you're looking for it to be YA, you might be disappointed. It doesn't quite hit the YA mark, but crossover appeal is there for teens and other YA readers that like to flirt in edgy territory. Weak constitutions and delicate sensibilities need not apply.
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Reading Progress

10/14/2011
38.0%
10/17/2011 page 100
91.74% "Review coming some time that's not bedtime."

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