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Black Machetes

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  33 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for B00KJWTJ1A

For Benjamin Wilder, it was just another day in the life of a twelve-year-old boy...

- Waking up with a fresh black-eye, compliments of the Rabid Dog:
- Taking care of his drunken mother before school:
- Risking life-and-limb to sneak out for a sleepover (and getting caught):
- Witnessing two psychopaths commit u
Kindle Edition, 413 pages
Published April 2016 by Mazewriter (first published June 1st 2014)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Shana Festa
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me first start by saying I’m not the drama type. I don’t generally go out looking for the type of book that Black Machetes turned out to be, but I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have come across it.

Ben Wilder is your protagonist, a tortured soul living with his drunken mother Angela, his abusive demon of a step-father that he so tenderly refers to as the “Rabid Dog” and his idiot step brother Tommy. I don’t normally like to read too much about a book before I read it for myself becaus
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won in a goodreads giveaway for an honest review
Loved it was awesome must read!!
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book.

The storyline kept me interested the whole time. The ending was not what I had imagined. I look forward to more books written by this author.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: messed-up-reads
Should be called...Everyone Dies.
Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'Black Machetes' by Ryan K. Howard.

We often hear how our young years are the formative years and yet many have a youth of distress and horror and must delve and find deep within themselves the strength to move up and overcome the pain of their past. At the same time, others are not so able to find the inner resistance and continue on a path that was not their own choosing in the beginning.

In Black Machetes by Ryan K. Howard, we follow the life and exp
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very tough novel to read - but one that draws you back into it eventually

Ryan K. Howard debuts with a novel that is so immersing and deeply troubling that this reader read it a few months ago, put it aside out of self preservation of the psyche, only to be drawn back into the book to re-evaluate the initial impact and consider the talent of the writer.

Ryan writes on his website, `For two evil psychopaths, horror is a delectable hobby...For a good-hearted kid, life is little more than abuse in
Christine Staszko
This is by far, without a doubt, no questions asked, an incredible book. I could have easily consumed this book in a day if all those pesky disturbances known as life didn't distract me. But every free moment I could get was spent trying to finish this book. The villains are so sickening and evil that you immediately cleave to poor, innocent Ben and root for him in his life long battle to overcome these human demons. Even though the big shocker of the book smacks you in the face right in the beg ...more
Knives Boone
This was not an easy book to listen to, as some of the violence was rather graphic, but I actually enjoyed the story by the time it ended. Benjamin Wilder is a 12 year old boy from a broken home. His alcoholic mother is living with a truly terrible man that Ben has nicknamed "Rabid Dog". The events that unfold are very difficult to hear, but eventually Ben finds an escape and gets away from his hometown completely, meeting a very nice elderly man in a small town and taking on an assumed name so ...more
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Story Line: Painful, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, but also hopeful and funny. Black Machetes story is incredible. It will take you to the deepest, darkest parts of the human soul...unearthing horrific cruelty, but also heroic courage and bravery. This book was incredible and I am so very thankful I got the opportunity to read it. Thank you Ryan Howard for sending me your book.

Writing: Ryan's writing voice is really good. I love how he makes the narrative voice reflect the actual character he i
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You want a page-turner? Then Black Machetes is the book for you! I am so glad I read this book. Definitely fits into my top 10 favorite books of all time. The story is about how dirt poor scrappy abused boy named Ben was able to rise above his upbringing and abuse to become an honorable man who did not let his unfortunate past define his goals and future. As a kid his only escape from his abusive home was his group of friends known ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Really good intense, gritty and disturbing.

A well written dark, intense and twisted story not for the faint of heart, squeamish or those easily offended. This book covers a variety of vile acts such as rape, murder, kidnapping and child abuse to name a few. So be forewarned. I had to stop my iPod several times and take a breath before continuing. The story pulls you in quickly and once you start listening you can't stop.
The story continually moves forward through a roller-coaster of events that
Samantha  Kurtz of Sammy's Book Obsession
TITLE~ Black Machetes
AUTHOR~ Ryan K. Howard
GENRE~ Fiction-Suspense-Thriller
PUBLISHED~ June 1st 2014 by Ryan K. Howard
PURCHASED/COST~ Copy for Review


I was provided with a copy of this book to review.
To start with, I have to say this is NOT at all within my normally preferred genres, so I’m having difficulty in writing this review. With that said, I’m so glad that the author approached me through my blog to review Black Machetes! Otherwise, I likely would have passed
Margaret Millmore
Ben Wilder lives with his alcoholic mother and his brutally cruel step-father and step-brother. Every day is a perilous walk through the minefield of a highly dysfunctional household. His one respite comes from his friendship with his diverse, but small group of friends. When Ben witnesses a horrible and depraved act committed by his step-father and his step-father’s best friend, he knows he must run or be killed. He finds himself in a small town, where he meets and elderly man who takes him in ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky to receive a promo copy of this book. It is a great summer thriller and would be a great summer movie too. (I picture something like Jack Nicholson's character from "the Shining" when I think of Wade and Jessup) It is a coming of age, cheer for the underdog story laced with brutality and obstacles that Ben must overcome. Whenever Ben seems to be moving on to a good life, his past brings him back to the pain of his childhood and challenges him again keeping the reader engaged. The det ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Machetes by Ryan K Howard
Our hero is Benjamin Wilder, a hugely likeable boy and you find yourself immediately empathizing with his situation, which continues as he grows to manhood. His story is raw, challenging and at times disturbing. He has many obstacles to face in his life which he meets head on, but evil is always lurking in the background in the shape of his evil stepfather and his depraved friend. I won't give the plot away here, but this book is a "page turner" - I couldn't put it
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can certainly understand why this book was called an "edgy, controversial and addictive debut" by GOODREADS. This is a story of life's great opposites; evil vs goodness, hope vs despair. The author grabs you in the beginning by describing horrible acts of child and spousal abuse and continues from there. At first I wasn't sure I would continue reading this book. However, as it continues to delve into the life of the protagonist, Ben, his friends and family, and those who support Ben as he grow ...more
Jennifer Zuna
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the more original novels I have read in awhile. This story grabs you pretty quick at the beginning and carries the readers attention to the end. This story has some pretty graphic evil and horrible characters, but that is balanced out by some of the most likable and honorable characters I've read about. The story itself is very believable. The main character, Ben, has a horrific childhood, but he perseveres and becomes a great hero in this story. The plot is laid out well and you ...more
Paulette Instone
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Machetes was not a story that I expected. The read starts out very dark: child neglect, abuse, alcoholism, rape, murder with two demented, unintelligent men as the main characters. This story shows humanity, struggle and goodness. Ben, the main character of the story, has a good heart. As I read the story, I have to wonder how he held up through the years of abuse, despair and poverty. Friendships, strangers, and the goodness of others is what kept me positive while reading and I kept hopi ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've encountered personifications of evil in literature before, but none are as loathsome as the character of Wade. Make no mistake: this book "goes there". I found myself unsure, during some of the darkest moments of this narrative, if I was going to get through the harrowing scenes. However, R.K. Howard infuses the Black Machetes with heart and depth, bringing an almost spiritual element to the story I hadn't anticipated.

My review at Audiofile Magazine:
I was lucky to win this in Goodreads First Reads and what a treat this book was! The last book I read was focused on plot and hardly anything on the characters. This book managed to cover all bases so well, there is nothing I can suggest to improve. The story was constantly moving, the characters constantly building. I could not put this book down. It was believable, heartbreaking, funny, tragic and heartwarming. All that Ryan Howard promised in the synopsis of his book he delivered on. I can't ...more
Leslie Fisher
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, audio, drama, macabre
This was a really good book, but the subject matter is highly disturbing (ex. serial rape, murder, racism, etc.). It is very dark and if you are sensitive, I probably would not recommend this. That being said, the book is well-written and really holds your attention. I listened to the Audible audio version, and the narration was really good. There is good character differentiation and good emotional connection. This is the third book I have read by R.K. Howard, and I am definitely hooked. As dar ...more
Wendy Rinebold
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Without giving much away, the story is about a kid and the terrible things that happen in his childhood and throughout his life. This was a phenomenal book. I couldn't put it down. Even though it was filled with some horrifying scenes, parts of it were so moving and heartwarming that it could be considered uplifting. I felt like the overall theme was the fight of the human spirit in the face of the absolute worst odds. Ryan Howard is an amazi
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good story, but I wish it had been told better. There are inconsistencies in the story, a lot of coincidences, and the characters frustrated me because they were kind of dumb - they didn't fight. Two characters are going around doing terrible things, but no one says anything or does anything. One of the friends is accused of rape and murder, and no one even asks him about it, everyone just seems to assume he did it. And the dialogue wasn't the best I've read, either.
Gina Smith
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is about the life of the main character Ben. Ben grew up in an abusive home. His step-father was physically abusive and his mother was an alcoholic who neglected him. He witnesses a very traumatic event when he was 12 that caused him to disappear from his old life and make a new life for himself. A hard to read book at times it was well worth it!
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite obviously a contrived story, but it's realistic and suspenseful. The good characters are almost too good and the bad characters are definitely too bad. Peter Berkrot delivers a respectable performance. He gives distinctive voices to the characters, although his accents aren't perfect. This is a gritty thriller and exciting listen.

NOTE: I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for this unbiased review.
Shoulanda August
Wow I was so touched reading this story

The rated this story five stars due to all the child neglect in the work. To. be a product of rape, only to have your child to endure the abuse with you. I did blame Ben mom because she was a victim, plus he understood in the end. Thumbs up to a brave little boy that finally fought back and won. I cried as much as Benji.
Bonnie Wilson
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming of age first-rate human horror

This is an excellent first novel and I found myself holding my breath while reading.
The author does an amazing job of telling the story of four teenage boys growing up in a world of terror. I will be looking forward to the next novel Mr. Howard!

Rose Langill
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book, it was dark to me at places but it kept drawing me in. I told many people about this book and many are looking forward to reading this. Would love to read more books like this.
Stephanie Woodard
I absolutely love this book I loved the concept of the story and the characters I couldn't put the book down definitely would recommend this book to you if you hadn't read it and Iam so looking forward to reading more books by Ryan K. Howard in the near future.
Allana Kellett
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was awesome. I felt like it was real life speaking to me. Great job Mr. Howard. Loved that you show or prove the fact that we do not have to be what we were growing up.
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Howdy, I'm R.K. HOWARD and I'm the author of Black Machetes, Error Code, The Aparting, The Express, and a short-list finalist of the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award.

When I'm not writing or marketing my fiction, odds are I'm probably incubating gnarly software in Seattle where I reside with my beautiful wife and teenage kiddos.

Learn more by visiting my official author site at
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