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Benny Rose, the Cannibal King

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Blackwood, Vermont has one legend to its name—Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Every local kid knows him and tells his stories, especially on Halloween. When a new girl moves to town in the autumn of 1987, the legend inspires high school junior Desiree St. Fleur and her friends to pull a Benny Rose-themed prank. A few laughs and screams, and they’ll have a Happy Halloween.

But a vicious storm crashes into Blackwood and interrupts the festivities. Soon the girls find themselves trapped and hunted in a strange neighborhood where no one will help them. There’s nothing made-up about Benny Rose this Halloween night. The truth is coming, and it's hungry.

Book 3 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.

164 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 17, 2020

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About the author

Hailey Piper

68 books516 followers
Hailey Piper is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Queen of Teeth, No Gods for Drowning, The Worm and His Kings, Your Mind Is a Terrible Thing, Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy, Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, and The Possession of Natalie Glasgow.
She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association, with dozens of short stories appearing in Pseudopod, Vastarien, Daily Science Fiction, Cosmic Horror Monthly, Year's Best Hardcore Horror, and other publications. She lives with her wife in Maryland, where their mad science experiments are secret. Find her on Twitter via @HaileyPiperSays or at www.haileypiper.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 194 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
256 reviews78.6k followers
December 31, 2020
Book 3 in the Rewind or Die series, by Hailey Piper.

Really fun slasher story! There’s a great cast of strong ladies kicking ass on Halloween night and lots of cannibal gore. I definitely need to check out more from this author ASAP.
Profile Image for Michelle (Taking a needed break).
230 reviews68 followers
August 26, 2022
I really loved everything about Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Every town has creepy local legends passed down from generation to generation. Benny Rose is Blackwood's legend, and when a group of teens spend Halloween telling scary stories they quickly learn some legends are born from truth.

Being from a small town, I remember spending plenty of nights telling stories about the local legends, and this book really spoke to me. It was a light, fun, cannibalistic Halloween read that I didn't want to end.
This is my first Hailey Piper book but I've already ordered my next!
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 3 books596 followers
November 7, 2022
It’s always a tough thing to create a new legend. But Hailey Piper did it right here. It is a classic callback to movies like Halloween and Friday 13th, with a silent killer just pursuing his victims. Young, naive, fresh victims. And the author went a step further and created a good, core dynamic between Desiree and Gabrielle. So, while there were some bland characters used as carving material, the main characters shined through. And majority of the story is spent running through Blackwood, avoiding a killer that sounded a lot like Uncle Fester. Just naked. Creepy. But there is a fairly deep lore to Benny Rose here and the story has a good amount of swerves to keep things fresh, complimentary to the fast pace. It even ended on a really cool note, too, which furthers the series that this book is a apart of. Just a fun, chaotic, bloody read. Benny Rose is a-okay by Peter Topside.
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 18 books3,706 followers
January 16, 2020
Hailey Piper is quickly becoming one to watch (when I say that, I mean insta-buy).
I recently read THE POSSESSION OF NATALIE GLASGOW and enjoyed Piper's storytelling voice and flair for horror. BENNY ROSE, THE CANNIBAL KING will release January 23rd, published by Unnerving Press. (Take note! There's a novel coming, THE VERSES OF AEG late this year)
This is a story set in the 80s. A new girl moves to town and is invited to a Halloween Party. Piper captures the awkwardness of being the new kid in high school. I loved the characterization and set up to what was surely going to be a Halloween Party gone horribly wrong.
There's so much to say about the legend of Benny Rose, but the back of the book doesn't give any details and therefore, neither will I for the sake of reader discovery.
So I will only disclose that there is this eerie quality that was unnerving as I ventured further into this story. Certain scenes shocked and horrified me. Piper writes specific details with precision causing violent and gory images to vividly come alive in my mind. A gruesome experience!
The female protagonists are well written and stand out as being decisive, brave and exhibiting leadership qualities among their peers, especially in intense moments of chaos. That's what I like to see! I recommend this novella to fans of Teen Screams, urban legends, creature-features, and strong female protagonists.
Entertaining and binge-worthy!

Mother Horror Book Blurb: "Hailey Piper is quickly becoming one to watch; insta-buy! The female protagonists in this nightmarish, urban-legend stand out as being decisive, brave, and exhibit leadership qualities in moments of violent chaos. Entertaining and Binge-Worthy!"
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,695 reviews654 followers
March 16, 2021
The ending of this book was such a dark delight! I didn’t see it coming and I haven’t read an ending this satisfying in a very long time. You horror fans must read it, you really must.

Benny Rose is an urban legend possibly cooked up to keep their kiddos in line. He comes out to torment and eat delicious wayward teens on Halloween because that’s what cannibals do! But when a group of meanish girls hatch a plan to host a slumber party in order to scare the new girl they might just end up scaring their own damn selves and worse . . .

Set in the ’80s, this novella is filled with nostalgia, action and adventure, and some gruesome murdering! Early on in the story, my notes weren’t very kind towards these teens and it’s a huge credit to the author that she managed to really make things turn around character-wise because initially, I was thinking that if Benny Rose didn’t put them all (except maybe one) on a plate, I was going to have to rage a bit. I’m not saying more because I do not want to spoil any of the gruesome fun but there was no raging needed. You’ve all been spared for today, haha.

There is some disturbing and nasty imagery here and I mean that as a compliment! I loved the writing of these terrible things and these visions probably won’t leave my head for quite some time, if they ever do. And then there are the sublime sinister turns that are stated so matter of factly that I had to laugh through the shock of the revelations. It’s all so beautifully vicious in the end so prepare thyself beforehand. If you like a well-written action-packed slasher, you’re going to find yourself a new boyfriend in Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, for certain! 🙀😈😹 And no, I’m never taking back that line, don’t even ask!
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books423 followers
February 12, 2020
My review of BENNY ROSE, THE CANNIBAL KING can be found at High Fever Books.

It begins with a plan to play a simple prank on the new girl. It ends in fire, misery, and bloodshed.

Gabrielle is the new girl, and Sierra’s boyfriend Paul keeps stealing glances at her and commenting on how pretty she is. Needless to say, Sierra isn’t too keen on all this, so she and her bestie, Desiree, concoct a plan to prank her during a Halloween sleepover. What they don’t plan for, though, is Benny Rose, a local urban legend who is, inexplicably, real. And he’s hungry. Very, very hungry.

Benny Rose, The Cannibal King has some typical, tried-and-true horror tropes on its bones, like the conceit of an urban legend actually being real, super deadly, and coming to life on Halloween, but damn if it doesn’t work. Some readers may find these elements cliche, but they’re cliches I happen to enjoy quite a lot when done well, and Hailey Piper certainly knows how to deliver on the promises she sets forth. There’s just something about a good Halloween ghost story turned slasher horror that really hits some sweet spots for me. Benny Rose, the man, the myth, the legend, is actually a pretty cool creation, with shades of Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger all rolled up into one long pork loving murderer.

It’s the spine of the story, though, that really lifts Benny Rose up to a higher level. We don’t get nearly enough coming-of-age narratives focused on girls, let alone ones that have a really strong “fuck the patriarchy” vibe about them. Piper offsets the escalating violence with just the right amount of socio-political commentary, giving her strong cast of high schoolers plenty of interesting and intriguing threats to contend with.

As for the violence… good lord, is it ever desperate, vicious, and cathartic. Piper does a fantastic job drawing her characters, and the readers right along with them, into some painfully dark moments of hopelessness. She’s not afraid to get savage, and there’s a certain scene late in the book involving a hammer that had me cheering. Given the limitations of novella-length works where there exists a certain trade-off between character development and story, I will say that I didn’t get a real feel for these girls beyond Desiree. Desiree is the main focus here, and it’s through her eyes that we see the story and learn about her friends. As such, it’s far more impactful when she’s caught up in various dangers than when those around her are targeted, and when push comes to shove she’s real hellion. Although we don’t get to become too familiar with the other teens, Piper’s descriptions of violence are shocking enough to still pack a punch, and I dug the hell out of it whole cloth.

Benny Rose, The Cannibal King has a lot going for it, and not many weaknesses I can think of. There weren’t any silver bullets that killed this story for me, and the more I ponder this narrative, the more things I find to enjoy. As the third installment in Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series of novellas paying homage to those halcyon days of gory, straight to video horror, it’s also the strongest entry thus far and sets a high benchmark for the books yet to come. Oh, and there’s cannibalism! Lots and lots of cannibalism! Seriously, what’s not to love here?
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,609 reviews5,002 followers
June 30, 2020
This was absolutely fantastic — and it would be a perfect story to hold on to for your Halloween TBR! I've been meaning to read something of Hailey's for ages and I'm so glad I finally did because this did not let me down at all. Full review coming soon!
Profile Image for Brandon Baker.
Author 12 books2,401 followers
January 11, 2023
Phenomenal. This might be my favorite from Piper- so entertaining, gory, and creepy. This will probably be one I reread every Halloween!!!
Profile Image for Mindi.
776 reviews264 followers
February 6, 2021
Wow. The tension in this book just builds and builds until it bursts. And when the characters reach the point of no return, the violence and gore are kicked into high gear. I couldn’t stop turning pages. The story near the end becomes so crazy and intense, I was practically holding my breath. This little novella is one hell of a ride.
Profile Image for Well Read Beard.
647 reviews279 followers
July 14, 2020
"Time to pay the piper." No seriously, It says that right there in the book on page 42. I got way more tickled at that line than I probably should have. It just really struck me as funny. That's it for the humor, the rest? Raw, gruesome, bloody, ravenous horror.

Sara Tantlinger calls it "an unforgettable terror" and she is absolutely right.
Gwendolyn Kiste calls Piper "a major new voice in horror" - I also agree - major, not budding, not developing - A major "knock your socks off" voice in the horror genre.

This is my second and favorite read from Hailey. I am a fan. I will read them all. Before I get into this book specifically. Would you like to know what she showed me in this one? What now, in my mind sets her apart? She writes the hell out of trauma. I don't mean emotional, loss, grief, feely trauma. She probably does fine with those as well. I mean the hammer to the skull, crushing, gray matter oozing trauma. That blunt force skin and tissue caving, blood sopped, blistering and raw socket trauma. All of that is pulled from her descriptions of these gruesome incidents. It just really stood out to me, the imagery from her handling of these traumatic scenes felt flawless. It felt like the model for how to write these scenes. Examples? Page 74 - paragraph starting with "Blisters, page 134 - paragraph starting with "The hammer".

At its core, this is a Halloween story, but I want to be clear, it isn't so Halloweenie that you have to wait until October to read it. It transcends that. It is the all of the best parts about urban legend horror.

Another thing that in my eyes Hailey mastered in this one was the the backstory vs main story element. I have found that in a novella format it is a tough measure to meet. A lot of times it's an either/or situation. Either you don't get enough backstory, or it overwhelms the main story line. The author nailed balance on this one.

It had everything you wanted really, sinister townspeople, a vicious, mysterious villain ( but one that you understood who/where/why/how ), main characters that you cared enough about, blood, gore, body count, ghost stories, a well established urban legend, survival, standing up, fighting back. I will not be that final girl. I am not the weak one.

The ending. What can I say about the ending? I guess I really can't - so I will just say "Damn, that ending... Wow"

Girl power, girls putting aside differences and standing together to fight back against a seemingly immortal foe. Strength, resolve, power. I do find deeper meaning in the story, a deeper theme of feminism. A deeper theme of struggling to conquer a stark white male villain. I may just be seeing things, things out by the woods - it is getting closer to Halloween you know. No, seriously - I felt something else under the covers, but I don't really like to show off my "big dumb man mind" when it comes to those things. Read it and see if you see it as well.

Profile Image for Andrew Robert.
Author 1 book436 followers
October 8, 2020
Blackwood is a small community covered by a veil of darkness and gripped by the myths about an evil so terrifying that it's story has been told for generations. Halloween night is a special time of year for the residents of this little town in Vermont. Kids are dressing up, candy is being doled out and the undead stalk their prey. Benny Rose is more than a myth he's a local legend and on Halloween night he rises from the grave to ease his insatiable hunger for the living.

This is the perfect Halloween Read. You can expect a young adult survival story with all the elements of a slasher film and a bit of body horror thrown in. The thing I liked most about this book is that Hailey Piper created this atmospheric feel from building up the myth of Benny Rose. I became fully immersed in each scene as I learned more and more about the antagonist. The lore about the cannibal king made for a great reading experience that I found absolutely terrifying and compelling. The author also did a great job of creating this constant looming sense of dread that I only thought possible in the 80's slasher films I grew up watching. Benny Rose, the pale-skinned monster could strike at anytime causing me to be on edge and anxious for the protagonists of this story.

This is my second time reading a horror novella by Hailey Piper. The Possession of Natalie Glasglow is an incredible book and so I am not surprised at all that I enjoyed Benny Rose the Cannibal King. I reccomend this novella for anyone on the lookout for a Halloween slasher story by an author with the incredible talent to scare the crap out of readers. Please, stay home this Halloween. Enjoy a scary story and beware of The Blackwood Devil!

Benny Rose the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Profile Image for WendyB .
504 reviews
October 20, 2022
To be honest, I had a hard time making heads or tails of the story and the ending.
Oh well... still a fun little read for Halloween.
Profile Image for Emily.
1,264 reviews331 followers
February 10, 2020
"But another story wanted out. It was a spider in her mouth, its legs creeping past her lips. She could crunch it in her teeth, swallow it, but it was going to come back again someday."

Benny Rose, the Cannibal King, is the second novella I've read from Hailey Piper, and she is definitely an insta-buy author for me. I had so much fun reading this one.

I am so happy to see more horror stories with groups of female characters. It was very easy to get into this story, and I was excited to see what would happen. This is a very entertaining Halloween story, and it would be a perfect read for the end of October (and any other time as well, but especially Halloween).

If you like small-town horror with local superstitions and good gore, I highly recommend picking this one up. I really enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see what Hailey Piper does next! Huge thank you to the author for sending me a copy to review.
Profile Image for Tracy Robinson.
465 reviews140 followers
December 11, 2020
OH MY HECK!!! You all need to read this book.
This review originally appeared in Rue Morgue magazine. It has been several months, so I am updating my review!

Rewind...or die. Unnerving Press has acquired an amazing lineup of novellas for 2020, all of which invoke horror movie nostalgia. Hailey Piper’s book, Benny Rose: The Cannibal King boasts a break-neck pace, believable characters, and a thrilling throwback to late 80s horror.
The small-town urban legend of Benny Rose is a living presence in Blackwood, Vermont. From prankster to child murderer and everything in between, his story is constantly shifting and evolving. Desiree and her friends decide the new girl in town needs a proper education and set about crafting a cruel introduction to local lore. Later, in an isolated part of town, as a storm rages outside, the girls realize that sometimes legends bite.
As the novella format necessitates, Piper uses a small setting with relatively few characters. These girls are dynamic and we are invested in their journey. The craft, though, is how the setting shrinks subtly, building suspense and anxiety in the reader without their knowledge. By the end, readers will be left breathless and unable to look away as Piper ramps up the mayhem and gore.
Often, we look back on past decades with a fuzzy sense of nostalgia. As much as we’d like it to be true, the 80s weren’t perfect and the author portrays it as such. Adults and others denigrate Desiree for her choice of clothing and her sexuality. Piper doesn’t use slurs or other token techniques to make this obvious, but it is there all the same. Issues concerning the LGBT community are present, and the inclusion is organic and true.
Piper’s prose flows on the page to create an almost cinematic experience. It’s easy to see why Unnerving snapped up this story. For fans of the VHS horror movie experience and readers alike, Benny Rose will be a hit. Be careful though, this book has teeth.
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 65 books405 followers
January 17, 2020
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

This is my third full-length read of Hailey Piper’s and she’s easily catapulted into a must-read author for me. I first fell into her dark worlds with ‘The Possession of Natalie Glasgow’ last year. It was a completely unexpected gem and one that totally caught me off guard. It made Piper’s name one that I would anticipate just what would come next.

Then Demain Publishing released book #33 in its Short Sharp Shocks! series – from Hailey called ‘An Invitation to Darkness.’ (Side note – I do have a release out through Demain in that series. I read and reviewed Piper’s release well before my release was accepted.)

Then Eddie Generous and Unnerving announced their open call for the exciting Rewind or Die series. A throwback to the type of VHS movies fans of the horror genre would want to rent on a Friday night.

‘Benny Rose, the Cannibal King,’ is the first one in this series I’ve read, but it absolutely won’t be the last. This was both a fantastic slasher/gorey/folklorish story, but also another leap forward for Piper.

We are transported into a small town – no mall, no theatre, no future. But – the kids all live for Halloween. You see, the entire town gets excited and decorates. The town also has its own urban legend/folklore tale – Benny Rose. Some say he has a hook instead of a hand, some say he wears a suit, but everyone can agree that he only comes out on Halloween night and devours kids.

Piper sets up the back story deftly but also plops us into the action immediately. There’s a new girl, one that rumours have been spread about, who a group of friends decide to play a Halloween prank on.

So the scene is set, the characters descend on the new girl’s home and then – all hell breaks loose.

This one hums along and I would have read it in one sitting if I didn’t have so many books on the go! As the story unfolds, as we would hope, the body count increases and things grow more and more horrible.

I loved every bit of this release. Hailey created some great characters, ones we want to see live, others we want to see get devoured and a creature in Benny Rose that was just repulsively delicious.

Looking forward, as always, to her next release, but now I’m really excited to see what else Unnerving and Rewind or Die has coming down the pipeline!
Profile Image for Nicholas Gray.
Author 6 books41 followers
February 15, 2021
My first Hailey Piper book, and it won't be my last!

This person can write a good story Y'all! I give this book Four and a Half stars, round it up to five on Goodreads and Amazon! I liked how Hailey Piper wrote these flawed, yet amazing characters so well in such a short amount of time (Pages). And the Cannibal King Benny Rose was a fantastic legend that chased after these girls throughout this awesome book.

So, the book is about a group of girls who are telling scary stories about their town's boogeyman, Benny Rose. They tell gruesome stories about the urban legend that haunted their little town in Virginia (Was it Virginia? I can't remember). Two boys spook them by playing a silly prank, and right after they all calm down after the big scare, trouble sets its feet in the house.

This was such a great story with a metal (Yes, I said Metal) ending! Super brutal cannibal death-match that I absolutely adored! Then the ending ends in a way I haven't read yet, and I won't spoil it for you!

Go read this book by a fantastic author! I'm going to read her next novella The Worm and His Kings soon, because Hailey Piper can write Y'all! :D
Profile Image for Red Lace Reviews.
289 reviews56 followers
April 22, 2021
Benny Rose is a legend in the small town of Blackwood, Vermont. His stories are famous among the local kids, and when Gabrielle moves to town, there’s ample opportunity to get her acquainted with the horror she’s missed out on. Desiree St. Fleur and her friends take it upon themselves to introduce her, personally, unknowing of the storm brewing.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

Benny Rose, the Cannibal King brought about a couple of exciting firsts, it being my first Hailey Piper novel, as well as my first experience with the Rewind or Die series. It was all about typical teenage shenanigans gone wrong, where Desiree and her friends attempt to prank the new girl on Halloween by teaching her of the town’s very own urban legend. Going by in a flash, it owned several cliches that worked to its advantage – my yearning for that classic slasher was satisfied, but that’s not to say it lacked surprises. Piper added layers to her characters, Desiree in particular, establishing them as individuals to identify with rather than cardboard cutouts, and what started as me not entirely warming to Desiree and friends, changed quite drastically over the course of the book. Look, I like depressing things and all, but a bond born from trauma gets me in the heart. It’s also great to see more and more horror with strong female protagonists, I’ll never get tired of it.

It wouldn’t be a murderous rampage without a villain to hound the steps of the poor victims, Benny Rose fitting the bill. He made an impression on me, his every description making my skin crawl; it’s always a delight when the monster owns the page. Dishing out suffering like a pro, the details of his appetite left little to the imagination, Piper’s vivid imagery more than entertaining. I also appreciated the history surrounding him, as well as how the truth was skewed by the townspeople in the favour of a good scary story – it was pretty accurate, even when the facts are disturbing enough, people always evolve them into something else over time. My only niggles about the plot related to the adults and how they got away with what they did, but I won’t go into heavy spoiler territory.

What can I say about the ending? It was glorious, simple as.

In conclusion: Bringing a local legend to life, Benny Rose, the Cannibal King was a short yet memorable read. Isolated in a strange neighborhood, three friends get a harsh lesson when trying to scare a fellow schoolmate, their cruelty morphing into redemption as they struggle to live another day. It was fast-paced, at times flaunting a quirky sense of humour while still retaining a sense of deeper meaning. I loved Benny Rose and how he was written, he’s one gentleman I wouldn’t ever want to run into.

Notable Quote:

Teenage girls could be demons.

© Red Lace 2021

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Profile Image for inciminci.
310 reviews19 followers
February 27, 2021
So, I'm lockdown-reading my way through the "Rewind or Die" series and just finished the third book, "Benny Rose, the Cannibal King".
The town of Blackwood has only one urban legend, only one monster to be ware - Benny Rose. They say that he was burnt alive during an explosion of Blackwood Mercy Hospital where he worked in the morgue, they say he only comes on Halloween and feasts on children, they say he gets smarter each time... But on Halloween 1987 four friends will learn the hard way that he isn't just a legend!!!
There is no doubt that Hailey Piper can write! She can captivate you, entertain you, unsettle you and disgust you all at once. Unfortunately, I feel like her skills were a little wasted on this story, as I feel it's not very original and I was expecting something more groundbreaking (that title, that premise!). And yes, this is supposed to be a retro-themed series that reinterprets 80s horror for today's readers, still there's one storyline (among others) that I personally think we should be over with by this time and don't really like seeing in horror fiction, but that's my problem (I can't tell you because it would spoil).
Still, Benny Rose is a really good book: Piper packs likeable characters, silliness, nausea, a gripping tale and a truly PHENOMENAL ending in mere 159 pages. Off to number four!
Profile Image for Ross Jeffery.
Author 22 books216 followers
January 13, 2022
What a gruesome little read.

Piper writes another awesome tale, I enjoyed the coming of age part of this story, even though it was a full on horror infused almost slasher type of story with a killer that I need to see brought to the big screen - at its heart it’s a story about young people struggling to survive, about growing up in a world that looks down on young people, on keeping them at arms reach, about being kept quiet.

The bloody gore was deliciously written and the way the story ends is just bloody brutal and was the fitting ending to such a macabre tale. The folklore / urban legend elements of this were also a delight and seem especially rounded out, some people miss the details, the history, the originality - Piper doesn’t and it makes for a tale that one might forget is fiction, that one might just start uttering around a campfire, a classic in every sense of the word!

Only if be thing I struggled with and it was the amount of characters we were fed straight off the bat - there were eight I think and with the girls especially I struggled for a while knowing who was who and sometimes didn’t know who was speaking - but as they started to get picked off it helped me understand who was who (if that makes sense) - but I guess because it’s a novella there wasn’t much time to make each person super individual so sometimes they came across a bit blurry - there was no problem with Benny Rose though - that bastard was fully defined!

Now I need to read more work of Piper’s good thing is she’s a writing machine and I have more books waiting on my shelf and kindle to scratch that itch!
Profile Image for OutlawPoet.
1,165 reviews70 followers
December 17, 2022
This was a whole lot of fun! Definitely creepy and gross and just non-stop horror.

Note that there's no subtlety here. Benny Rose, the Cannibal King is definitely about Benny Rose, the Cannibal King and he likes to chomp and chomp and chomp.

Our characters were fun and tragic and perfectly suited for a 1980's Slasher.

While I may have wanted a bit more meat (in a plot development way, not a cannibal way - there's plenty of that), the book is highly entertaining and I enjoyed the read!
Profile Image for Yolanda Sfetsos.
Author 65 books172 followers
March 10, 2022
I've got a bunch of Rewind or Die novellas on my Paperwhite that I've been meaning to read for a while, so I thought I'd start with a Hailey Piper story.

Desiree lives in Blackwood, a boring town with a big legend. Benny Rose, the Cannibal King is a mysterious figure responsible for killing and eating children, as well as every other scary story they can attach to him. But during Halloween 1987, while trying to prank the new girl, Desiree and her friends are about to find themselves the targets of this horrific killer...

Well, that was quite the gorefest. And I say that in the best way possible because the carnage in this little horror gem just keeps coming.

This creepy tale really nails the 1980s teenage vibes, as well as tapping into what made all those VHS movies so much fun during movie nights with friends. The characters are introduced in a way that hooked me into their lives instantly. The Halloween situation plays out as expected... Well, until it doesn't, because there's nothing predictable about what these friends go through. 👀

I also enjoyed the underlying social commentary about what people are willing to do to stop change. It's sad, but true, and very entertaining in this novella.

Oh, and the last chapter is absolutely brutal. And inspiring, in a macabre kinda way. Teenage girls are some of the strongest and most loyal people, though they rarely get credit for it. So it was awesome to see these girls taking the lead against a horrible monster.
Profile Image for Richard K. Wilson.
392 reviews97 followers
September 9, 2022
Having never read anything by Hailey Piper; I had not a clue what to expect! OMG this is one sick as hell Urban Legend/dead teenagers/halloween revenge prank book that I have ever read! Get ready for a quick 3 hour listen and or read, and the sexual/cannibalism gore is extreme; BUT SO much scary fun!

The town of Blackwood Vermont has an urban legend....doesn't the town or city where you live? The story of Benny Rose, the Cannibal King is one that you are not soon to ever forget.

Gabrielle is the new girl in town, and she has just moved in with her Grandmother who lives in a seniour citizen community, where everyone sticks to their own business. And not a one of them talk or speaks of Benny Rose. Now this is a town where Halloween does not end at 12 midnight....no it does not. And when the high school mean girls Sierra, and Desiree plan a slumber party on Halloween night with their boyfriends secretly involved, they plan Halloween prank to scare the shit out of Gabrielle. And man oh, man does it work......but is Benny Rose real or was it all a towns way of scaring the local kids?

The graphic and extreme gore in this short and quickly to scare book was SO well written by Piper that I had no idea where it was going to go.
Warnings: Extreme scenes of cannibalism of kids, sexual dismemberment and graphic scenes of gore. I LOVED it! Get ready to meet the most scary of any Urban Legend out there....the one of Benny Rose, The Cannibal King!!

5 🔪🔪🩸🩸🩸
Profile Image for Beau Johnson.
Author 10 books103 followers
June 8, 2021
There is a lot to like in Hailey Piper's Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. An urban legend come to life is one, the 80's for another. But what I enjoyed most is when the tables are perhaps turned and the predator may in fact become the prey. Beyond that, new monsters may have been created in the process. Always fun, that. Go forth, seek out, purchase and enjoy. Tell 'em another lover of dark fiction sent you. Fun was had!
Profile Image for Donna.
Author 7 books59 followers
March 25, 2022
Great Halloween story!

What a fun story. It would make a great addition to a Halloween reading list. A fast paced read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I just wish the ending had more closure, but it was still enjoyable.
Profile Image for Becca.
616 reviews52 followers
January 23, 2020


Thank you to Hailey Piper for providing me with a copy of Benny Rose, the Cannibal King in exchange for an honest review!

Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series is shaping up to be phenomenal. All of the reads in this collection are meant to give horror fans a huge case of the nostalgia & the familiar feeling of renting a VHS tape at your local shop. The series will be released throughout the year, and I know darn well that I’ll be keeping up with them.

Benny Rose, the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper is one out of three that will be released this month (& as I’m publishing this review, it’s out now!!)! I’ve been meaning to read some of Hailey Piper’s work for a while now, but my towering TBR kept getting in the way. I’m so thankful that my first read by the author was Benny Rose, the Cannibal King!

Throughout this short read, I found myself beyond entranced with the writing and the town of Blackwood. At times, it felt like I wasn’t even reading, but instead actually sucked into the town that finds itself terrorized by tales of Benny Rose.

And, oh gosh, Benny Rose? Benny Rose can definitely join the ranks of icons such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. He’s equal parts terrifying and equal parts can we get this dude a sequel???

Benny Rose, the Cannibal King plays out exactly like a slasher film: complete with a group of girls, the lore behind the killer, and an epic showdown to conclude the story. It’s no wonder why Unnerving chose Haily Piper’s submission in their Rewind or Die series. Benny Rose, the Cannibal King embodies everything that I love about ’80s horror flicks.

If you’re into horror, please make sure to put Benny Rose, the Cannibal King on your TBR! It’s 100%, without a doubt, worth the read!
Profile Image for Sara Tantlinger.
Author 52 books257 followers
December 26, 2019
Hailey Piper continues to prove herself as an author to watch in her newest work, "Benny Rose, the Cannibal King." Through a sharp cast of characters that wonderfully shows teenage girls in a strong, relatable way, we are thrown right into an eerie setting where a local folk story haunts the neighborhood. As myth bleeds into reality, the reader is taken on a heart-racing chase, but the end is something you have to read for yourself. Sharpen your teeth and get prepared to take a bite out of Piper's bloody prose!


Profile Image for Michael Sellars.
Author 11 books41 followers
August 30, 2020
This could have been a fun exercise in retro gore: teenagers, halloween, a killer on the loose. And it is a fun exercise in retro gore. But it also has some of the most vividly realised characters I've come across in quite some time, exploring the dynamics of teenage friendship in no little depth, and applying empathy where other writers might have brought judgement. The prose is keen, the plotting relentless and the ending left me breathless. A great horror novel.
Profile Image for Joe.
Author 44 books85 followers
December 23, 2019
It was my great pleasure to sneak an early read of this and it was so much fun. Twists the slasher tropes, portrays teen women as *gasp* humans, and almost reaches full villain empathy, but not quite. My only complaint is the almost.
Profile Image for Badseedgirl.
1,227 reviews57 followers
August 24, 2022
Book 3 of the Rewind or Die Series

This novella felt like a horror movie I would have rented from my local Super Duper on a Friday night. My best friend and I would sit there with our fuzzy navels, the epitome of sophistication to our teenage brains, and popcorn and wait for her brother to sneak up behind us and scare us as he always did. (R.I.P. John.)

There is a thin plot to this story and the action begins almost immediately, but as other reviewers have said that ending was a punch to the gut.
Profile Image for Rayne King.
Author 3 books28 followers
February 18, 2022
You know when you’re reading a book and it feels like it was written specifically for you?

Yeah…BENNY ROSE, THE CANNIBAL KING is one of those books for me.

Dug the hell out of it.
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