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4.81  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  14 reviews
"If one is forced into a hell, one shall act as a devil."

Welcome to Riverstones City. A sprawling squalor. A grim tangle rife with violence, drug trafficking, larceny, prostitution, corruption. The rich reside in apathy above the poor. The police and the politicians make their fortunes by gazing the other way.

The most notorious district of this city is Forest Heights. Home
Paperback, 1st, 40 pages
Published June 2014 by Severest Inks (first published August 26th 2013)
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Average rating 4.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  21 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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MJ Lucid
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Khalid Patel's writing creates a picturesque dark satire of the America that most of us would like to ignore- the poverty, the crime, and the villainous creature that rules it all by fear. The graphic grit of the city and surreal dialect spoken by its inhabitants are characters in themselves. Red is the one small depiction of innocence in a world populated by junkies, prostitutes, and gunslingers. The brief mention of video games and rap music left me pondering if this was really fiction... or a ...more
Eryk Pruitt
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Edgar Allan Poe wrote the nursery rhymes you were read as a child?

If you haven't -- or at least aren't intrigued by it -- then "Red" by Khalid Patel of Severest Inks is not for you.

If you've never enjoyed someone challenging the English language to the boundaries of where it can go, then stepping over... If you aren't intrigued by pages in which night becomes "the darks" and gossip is "old murmurs" and blood -- our very life force, mind you -- becomes
The Book Chick
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short story with a colossal impact

The remarkably imaginative author of Red reinvents a childhood classic using profoundly contemporary language and ideas. The well-loved fairytale about the little girl with a red cape becomes a thought-provoking story of the repercussions of vengeance and greed, which feels unnervingly relevant given the modern day context. The myths and folklore of the original sit side by side with present-day issues such as social hierarchism and authorial corruption, makin
Victor Giannini
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults, fantasy writers/readers
First off, let’s get this straight:
“Red” is not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Oh, you’ll think so at first, and rightfully so. The homages are so on the nose deliberate (a risk), that you’d be right to expect the old fable with a new set of paint. Khalid Patel has taken a huge risk just in writing “Red”, and takes many more within the story. Patel is so confident in his writing, and in his readers, that aspects that at first come as borderline cheesy (we’ll get to that but don’t worry
Blistered Eyeballs
Red applies flame to convention

Fair warning: Red isn’t the sort of fairytale to read to your child before bedtime. It’s perhaps the sort of fairytale to read to a hopeless junkie to wean them off their addiction, via the grim reality of drug dependency it portrays. Or to apathetic fat cats to wean them off their greed, via the haunting reality of a poverty-plagued society it delivers.

You’ll flinch a couple times reading Red as scenes of squalor are flickered at you… An abandoned young boy plays
Lucy Black
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Khalid Patel’s Red is a sensory delight dripping with dark vibrancy and lunatic strange. Riverstones City will steal your soul, seducing you with a claustrophobic voice you can’t help but be afraid of. Experimental, aggressive, pushing the envelope, it is a dark fairy tale set in an urban wasteland with a creative twist. The mad sparkle dialogue of his ‘Stonian-Speak’ is as creative and engaging as Burgess’ experiments in A Clockwork Orange. Follow twelve year old Red through a horrific wonderla ...more
Will Marsden
Red Unleashes Two Badass Female Protagonists

What struck me most about Red was the unconventionalism Khalid Patel likes to play with in his narratives; the offbeat prose that is dangerously addictive, with its unique rhythms and alluring, hypnotic flow of words; the ballsy, blistering imagery that often juxtaposes two contraries -- like youthful innocence with death, “A young boy sat upon the kerb, stirring the blood with a stick” -- or rich with poor, “Homeless men stared up at suited men who st
Zack Ingels
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say this place is hell on earth is an understatement. Corporate America overlooking the utter poverty-plagued shit stain they called a city. Demons lay on every street corner hissing from the abysmal abyss. Walls marked with graffiti, death and blood paved the streets. The city showed its teeth. Drugs, murder, rape, prostitution were just some of its finest examples. The homeless, whores, children, even the men and women sworn to protect the people were all fair game. From this city though la ...more
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riverstone City. A place so bleak, describing it as "glum" and "hopeless" is being too kind to it. In the middle of this hot bed of drugs, murder, prostitution, and crime, is 12 year old book and street smart Red. Red is a young girl who immersed herself in books not only to educate herself but also escape the horrific world that has become her daily existence. Knowing that one wrong move could end her in a fate that befell both her parents, Red is hyper vigilant to dangers, trusting only her Gr ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short story which engages your literary brain, a dark satire on corporate America (though I think it could be certainly applied to any city in the 'Western' world).

The author takes a well known fairy tale and turns it on its head. Red, a young girl, clutching her books, walks home from the library and has to get to her grandmother's house quickly. She has to cross the notorious Forest (geddit?) Heights district of the city with winos, drug pushers and prostitutes on every street corner. She ha
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking polished short fiction that gives more than enough bang for your (literal one) buck!
Ok, wow! I don't really read much fiction, but for something as short and unpricey (it's less than a frickin' dollar!!) as Red I gave it a shot. It really took my imagination in. The story is so daringly descriptive I felt as though I was walking alongside Red through the terrifying urban jungle that is Forest Heights, avoiding eye-contact with the broken junkies and the sleazy suits on the lookout for vulnerable woman. I genuinely feared for Red's life.

The narrative had me so engrossed that in
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If one is forced into a hell, one shall act as a devil."

Find an afternoon to read this great work. While reading this short I felt as if I were a witness, watching Red walk the streets. Khalid Patel puts together a graphic setting of a broken city toiled with drugs, prostitution, organized crime, and corruptness. I was haunted by the imagery. The prose depicts a landscape so vivid it feels as if you are in the streets of this city. The city is a melting pot of evils and vice, and sirens, and co
Charmaine Pauls
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This dark prose with an amazing twist engaged all of my senses in an exploration of the ultimate city of corruption, poverty, crime and despair. Following in Red's steps, I could see, smell, hear and feel the tentacles of imminent danger twisting off the page into my mind, transporting me to a world of saddening elements too real to ignore. I loved the end. Red's footsteps still echo in my memory. This story stuck with me. ...more
Matt Phillips
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Part E.A. Poe, part Burgess, part Robert Louis Stevenson–this story is a fairy tale that descends into, well, it descends into a kind of hell.

Oh, and guess what? You know when you're reading a story and something happens and you're like... 'that was totally bad-a**?' Well, that happens in this story. And let me tell you... the climax is a zinger.
Emily Brown
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Sep 19, 2013
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Khalid Patel is a British writer and artist of Indian and Burmese heritage. Raised in a working-class Muslim culture, his background and experiences echo his multilayered storytelling, characterized by poetically charged prose, captivating dialogue and searing sociopolitical asides.

He is also the founder of Sev Inks, an independent publishing house of unconventional, challenging narratives. Throug

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