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The Roo

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Something is wrong in the small outback town of Morgan Creek.

A farmer goes missing after a blue in the pub. A teenage couple fail to show up for work. When Patrick and Sheila McDonough investigate, they discover the missing persons list is growing. Before they realise what’s happening, the residents of the remote town find themselves in a fight for their lives against a foe they would never have suspected.

And the dry red earth will run with blood.

132 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 28, 2020

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About the author

Alan Baxter

128 books458 followers
My book rating system:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Brilliant, I bloody loved it!
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Really good, highly recommended.
⭐⭐⭐ - Enjoyable, well worth a read.

I don't talk about ⭐⭐ and ⭐ reads because I believe in only talking up the good stuff. That's why my Goodreads rarely has anything under a ⭐⭐⭐, unless I feel like there's good reason to talk about it.

Bio: Alan Baxter is a British-Australian multi-award-winning author of horror, supernatural thrillers, dark fantasy, and crime. He’s also a martial arts expert, a whisky-soaked swear monkey, and dog lover. He creates dark, weird stories among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, where he lives with his wife, son, hound, and a bearded dragon called Fifi. You can find his full bibliography here: https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/abou...

Alan has been a seven-time finalist in the Aurealis Awards, a six-time finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards and a seven-time finalist in the Ditmar Awards. He won the 2014 Australian Shadows Award for Best Short Story (“Shadows of the Lonely Dead”), the 2015 Australian Shadows Paul Haines Award For Long Fiction (“In Vaulted Halls Entombed”), and the 2016 Australian Shadows Award for Best Collection (Crow Shine), and is a past winner of the AHWA Short Story Competition (“It’s Always the Children Who Suffer”).

Read extracts from his novels and novellas, and find free short stories at his website – www.warriorscribe.com – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

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5 stars
245 (39%)
4 stars
242 (38%)
3 stars
101 (16%)
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28 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 202 reviews
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books628 followers
September 14, 2021
So this was an ok read. I felt like for such a short book, there was way too much focus on the kangaroo attacks and kills. You already had a fair amount of characters that had promise, but the attention was continually called away from them, taking away from the core people involved. I thought back to Stephen King's Salem's Lot, which also involved a small town with an evil entity killing them off, one by one. It balanced a large cast of characters with the violence needed to assert the level of threat involved. This definitely missed the mark, trying to have a similar dynamic to that. I also didn't love the explanation of how the 'roo was turned evil, which was just done extremely quick and without much additional information. Again, I just felt like the details and attention were in a lot of the wrong spots here. But I did overall enjoy the story, surface-level, and never imagined reading about a killer kangaroo. The writing is pretty good and you got a decent feel for the town of Morgan Creek, but the flaws just took away some of the magic here.
Profile Image for Char .
1,614 reviews1,464 followers
March 12, 2020
Romping, chomping, creature-feature FUN.

I was on the outskirts of the Twitter community that spawned the idea for this story. It was fun to see most of those Tweeters turned into characters and killed in the book.

Perhaps a bit heavy on the anti-domestic violence message, but that didn't spoil the overall fun.

Recommended for fans of creature-features!

*I purchased this novella with my hard earned cash.*
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 69 books440 followers
January 27, 2020
Is it OK to review a book when you are a character in it? Not sure on the protocol here, but I was a minor player that was mentioned a few times, so I'm going to say yes!

What started out as a funny headline, then turned into a joke cover, and dovetailed into a hilarious Twitter thread has resulted in this - a modern day Paperback From Hell. Hendrix would be proud.

The story is really simple - a small outback town in Australia gets decimated by an out of control, monstrous Kangaroo. They band together to try and stop it.

It really is the things great B-movies are made of and Baxter pulled it off perfectly. Short, sharp chapters that not only moved the plot along nicely, but also great use of building a community group and having them band together in the face of adversity.

The slang was fantastic, reminded me of my bobsled days and hanging with the Aussie team a lot.

The ending was well done. I'll mention that Baxter left the door open for some further books set in this world and with how much joy that came across the pages when reading this, I hope he returns and gives us another fun, gorey release. He lives in the land of animals that'll kill you, so there's certainly enough story fodder out there for him to use. You could really tell just how much fun he had writing this thing.

So, in conclusion - I loved this one. Even if I wasn't a character in this, I would have still devoured this book. It had some fantastic kills and some spectacular banter. Just an overall fun time.

Finally - it left us with the greatest description of wrinkles on a face ever. Just ask Shane Keene.
Profile Image for Graeme Rodaughan.
Author 9 books339 followers
February 15, 2021
Demon Possessed Marsupial Mauls Outback Town: "Killer Roo Ate My Husband!"

Read the full news report below...

No, just kidding ... about the news report that is.

A very entertaining 'Full Gore Horror,' monster-splatterfest of a novella that gets under your skin - very memorable.

Strongly Recommended: 5 'blood splattered,' stars
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,360 reviews352 followers
March 14, 2020

AVOID if you have an aversion to:
-Murderous kangaroos
-Carnage and mayhem
-Blood and gore
-Pointless, graphic violence
-Aussie slang
-Outback livin'

This is a book quite clearly written for the people. The larrakin language was so over the top I was laughing out loud and considered shelving this as 'comedy'. (Side note: 'Strine'?? Round these parts we call it 'Strayan'.) Make sure you read the forward.

There's a handful of typos and continuity errors, too many characters to keep track of, and a slightly too-drilled message about domestic violence - it's no work of literary genius. But it is just a lot of ridiculous, violent fun.

It's a psycho kangaroo hopping around murdering country bumpkins.

Just sit back and enjoy it.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,675 reviews2 followers
February 27, 2020
THE ROO, by Alan Baxter was a fun, B-movie style novella. Action packed from the start, what began as a series of comments on Twitter became an original tale of carnage and gore.

Let's face it--this was obviously an automatic "cover buy" for any horror enthusiast out there, as well.

I loved the descriptions of this massive new threat, and honestly didn't even have a chance to guess at the cause, since I was so into the events happening.

". . . Roos don't have teeth like that . . . "

The only thing that I, personally, didn't care for was that just about every character was named after someone I "knew" in the horror community, from authors to reviewers. While this was most likely done as an inside joke/comic effect, it was very difficult for me to see these "characters" as anything other than the people I knew, especially as both first and last names were used. This took me out of the action too often, and I feel the novella would have packed even more of a punch--for myself--if I didn't have preconceived notions of most every character.

That being said, the story also addressed some major domestic issues, and brought about awareness of other more serious problems.

Overall, a fun, gory tale with some pertinent societal issues added in, as well.

Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,862 reviews1,897 followers
September 8, 2020
Real Rating: 3.5* of five

Good, violent fun from an Aussie horrorista with a Twitter cadre of loyalists who all have excellent credentials as writers. I hadn't considered one of Author Baxter's tales for my own entertainment before chancing on a well-loved writer's tweet encouraging all and sundry to do so. I did; I'm glad.

Quite a ride! Curses, death wishes, and a lot of rage. Gore galore and the weirdest monster yet. But all in all, a sad take on the prevalence of hatred in the world. Roots go deep, cures don't. Author Baxter wrote a touching Afterword, one that says more in fewer words than any sermon ever could.

The cover of this story is just about the coolest thing on my Kindle. Elderlemon Design (aka horror biggie Kealan Patrick Burke, who appears in the text as a publican) made it; what I love about that is the origin story that Author Baxter tells us...a joke, a cover, a story, and now a fictional exploration of the ungovernability of hate let loose.

Plenty of gore, lots of rage, and throughout the proceedings, a steady heartbeat of caring, kindness, and acceptance. Not what I expected, in the best possible way.
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,137 reviews235 followers
January 31, 2020
You can blame a news article, Australian Town Terrorised By Muscular Kangaroo Attacking People and Eating Gardens, and Twitter for the existence of this book. Most of the people who egged the author on are now fictionally deceased, slaughtered by Skippy. Meanwhile, I’m waiting as patiently as humanly possible for The Asylum to film this story for me. I love The Asylum!

I was interested in reading this book mostly as a bit of a joke but also because I thought it would be pretty un-Australian of me not to, and strewth! It was a bloody good yarn! (Emphasis on the bloody!) That’s 4.5 blood soaked stars from me!

When this novella begins, Morgan Creek, a small outback town, has 400 people but won’t for much longer if Skippy, who’s gone to the dark side, has any say in the matter.
The roo’s mouth opened with a soft grunt. Its eyes glowed fiery orange. John startled, realised it wasn’t reflected streetlight, but the beast’s eyes had seemed to ignite with a kind of internal flame, bathing its face in a glow like a campfire. It grunted again, guttural.
I started making notes of all of the characters’ names and snippets of information about each of them, then quickly realised the futility of this. After all, so few were destined to survive to tell the tale.

With so many bone crunching, blood spattered, insides are now your outsides kills in this story it was difficult to choose a favourite. However I was quite partial to the visual that accompanied reading that someone’s “head burst like a ripe fruit.” While Morgan Creek remains drought affected at the end of the story its red dirt has certainly copped a drenching of the blood of its recently sliced and diced.

I was fairly certain this wasn’t the first time Skippy had gone dark and in my wanderings I found Waterborne, a Zombie Kangaroo Short Film, which you can chuckle along with here.

The Death Toll: 28 (26 of those can be directly attributed to the rampaging roo). This doesn’t include the people only mentioned as missing. If I didn’t witness the kill myself or stumble over the remains, I haven’t counted it.

[Because I made notes of who died as I read I’m including the list here but this is only for my benefit. Please don’t ruin it for yourself by opening this spoiler if you haven’t read the book yet! ]

The Roo is not all splattery fun though. Real issues affecting Australians are also addressed, from the devastation that accompanies drought to domestic violence and death by suicide.

If you’re not a native Aussie you may find some of our slang incomprehensible. I had actually expected to find more slang than I did but for those of you who can’t tell the difference between ‘yeah nah’ and ‘nah yeah’, there’s a handy glossary at the end of the book.

Once Upon a Nitpick: A fair few typos have managed to sidestep the proofreading process, especially near the beginning. One character’s surname also changes between chapters 2 and 4.

Content warnings include alcoholism, bucketloads of swearing, death by suicide, domestic violence (particularly physical abuse) and racism (challenged).

There’s definitely room for a sequel. Hopefully coming soon to a Kindle near you …
🇦🇺 Drop Bears: Not So Cuddly After All
🇦🇺 Wombat and the Cubes of Doom
🇦🇺 Stone the Crows vs. The Flamin’ Galahs
P.S. Not directly related to this book but I found this by accident when I was thinking about other Aussie icons that could feature in a sequel (there definitely needs to be a sequel) … Someone has made a horror movie about drop bears and I cannot wait to see it!
Profile Image for Alex | | findingmontauk1.
1,110 reviews97 followers
November 29, 2021
THE ROO is bloody fun and fast-paced! I loved all the kill scenes and was laughing quite a bit at some of these characters and their conversations. I want to be at this pub, okay!? Fans of creature-feature will devour this in a single sitting. It's a campy good time that you don't want to miss - and it's a super quick read that will entertain you the whole time.
Profile Image for Tara.
369 reviews21 followers
March 10, 2022
3.5 stars. Fun story, awesome gore, and one of the best book covers I’ve ever seen! Seriously, I need that cover on a t-shirt or something <3
Profile Image for Brandon Baker.
Author 14 books2,746 followers
November 18, 2022
Okay but this was actually insanely fun!! 😂 If you’re looking for an entertaining but gory creature feature that you can read in a few hours, The Roo is for you!! I loved how some of the characters were named after authors. One of my new favs of the year didn’t end up fairing too well and it just added to the fun 😂
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books430 followers
February 5, 2020
My review of THE ROO can be found at High Fever Books.

The Roo is really fun, high-octane, vintage creature feature straight out of the Australian Outback. It started off as a lark, based around a quintessentially Australian news story about a seriously ripped kangaroo terrorizing a town, eating up gardens, and attacking the elderly. Author Charles Rutledge joked on Twitter that it sounded like an old paperback horror novel from Zebra, and author and cover designer Kealan Patrick Burke designed the above image in response. Alan Baxter was joking around with them, and was encouraged to then write said book, and lo, a legend was born.

Although it started off as a spate of Twitter shenanigans, Baxter wound up really delivering the goods with this one. It’s a really simple premise and the cover tells you everything you need to know. If you haven’t already figured it out by now, this one’s a splendid bit of Evil Kangaroo mayhem.

While that’s the down-and-dirty gist of this particular novella, Baxter does use the (no doubt to non-Aussies, silly) premise to speak on some serious, weightier issues, most notably that of domestic violence, toxic masculinity, and the ways those forces can destroy not just interpersonal relationships but can actually spill out and poison the surrounding community, particularly those small, isolated communities as found in the Outback. The Roo is a call for men to do better and to be better.

It’s also wonderfully, beautifully gory as all get out. Baxter wastes absolutely no time cluing readers in on the kind of book they’re getting here. This is some grade-A monster horror, and it’s a wild time. If you’re not familiar with Roger the Buff Kangaroo, take a moment and Google him. Now picture an alpha male kangaroo that’s even bigger, evil, and incredibly bloodthirsty, one that rips limbs off men, stomps them to death, tears off heads, and so on. That’s the roo at the center of all this, and his prime targets are names you’ll likely be familiar with if you’re connected to the horror book review community, including yours truly! Yes, dear readers, I get to die at the hands of a kangaroo! (Many, many thanks, Alan!)

The Roo is fantastic bit of fun and a truly splendid way to kill an hour or two. It’s quick, it’s violent, and it’s funny. If you liked the Kevin Bacon flick, Tremors, you’ll love The Roo!
Profile Image for Josh.
1,628 reviews146 followers
March 30, 2020
Struth! Stone the flamin’ crows, this one’s a bloody rippa (both figuratively and literally)!

Side note; I’m an Australian, and whilst the colorful aforementioned colloquialisms aren’t part of my day to day dialogue, they are 100% apt when reviewing this piece of, do I dare so, classical Aussie outback horror? – yeah, it’s that good.

Back to the book; this outback gore stained story of survival horror ticks all the boxes; it’s got the isolation angle, a menacing murderous beast, a high kill count, disturbingly gruesome deaths, and a solid rationale.

The characters themselves are type-cast country farmers living day by day downing pints at the pub, brawling with their mates, and putting in long hours of hard yakka. Alan Baxter does a great job at capturing that distinct regional Australia setting and populating it with colorful characters.

The pub is a key destination, not only serving as the local watering hole which brings the characters together, but it's also one of the places where the horror hits home; the menacing marsupial carves out a nice slice of nightmare here.

The Roo is pitch perfect for horror aficionados, even moreso for fellow countrymen readers.
Profile Image for lee_readsbooks .
388 reviews58 followers
February 17, 2020
What started as a joke on Twitter turned creative cover art by Kealan Patrick Burke, Alan Baxter was soon persuaded into writing one hell of a classic Aussie horror story!

As an Aussie myself I found this book to be absolutely hilarious for horror. Every piece of Aussie slang Baxter could think of has been added to this book ( don't worry there is a Glossary).

As I was reading the banter between farmers I couldn't help but giggle at the amount of phrases I use myself but change my language when writing on goodreads so I can be understood although I have been caught out and questioned a few times!

So this is the story of a big red kangaroo, yes they can be big bastards. Harmless but territorial. Also extremely powerful.
This particular roo is a little different. Not only is he a big bastard but he has a taste for blood.
This is where after a small farming community notices people are missing they band together and go on the hunt for what they least expected. A giant roo, muscular, blazing eyes, and ready to crack some skulls.

The short chapters made this book such an easy read and I had finished before I knew it.
Now all we need is for KPB to come up with another cover so Alan Baxter can write a sequel!
Profile Image for Christian.
73 reviews5 followers
January 30, 2020
As soon as I saw that title and cover I knew I had to read it, and I'm glad I did because it is fucken brilliant. No doubt the greatest fucken thing I'll read all fucken year. Fuck Razorback, make a film of this. Or get fucked.

Bring on the inevitable sequel, The Roo 2: That Fucken Roo's Back, Now How Did He Do That. I'm telling ya, the bloody thing will write itself. Or get fucked.
Profile Image for Glenn  Parker.
51 reviews18 followers
January 30, 2020
where do I start? not in f#cking Morgan Creek that's for sure, ya can stick that town up ya clacker. I feel - as a bit of a bogan, myself - that I am most qualified to review this book. Ya see I grew up in a town just like Morgan Creek, alright so maybe there wasn't a 7-foot tall c#nt of a skippy bouncing 'round but it was in the sticks, down in the asshole of the world. There was a local pub which might have well as been our church ( Father, Son, and the holy froth.) We had the one bakery that everyone went to for snag rolls and pies, the town drunk that made all other alcoholics feel slightly better about themselves, and finally, a weird sense of local union (g'day Marg, say ello to Rod for me will ya?) Everyone knew everyone and that sucked for me because I was a little asshole and always poured dishwashing detergent into the town fountain so I could watch it froth up and overflow in the middle of town. Mum broke so many wooden spoons on my ass but nothing could stop this little terror. Where am I going with all this? I'm glad you asked because I forgot for a moment there, I was too busy rubbing the ghost of a red welt on my ass from the ol' spoon. My point is Alan Baxter set out to write a story about a killer kangaroo in a small outback town and he absolutely nailed it. I felt like I knew all the characters, the familiar names didn't hurt ( I'm looking at you, Steve Stred, Sadie Hartmann, Kealan Patrick Burke.) but the town felt like my childhood and in such a short novella he made it a living and breathing community that you felt something for. He tackled the hardships of farm life in Australia, he didn't make us all look like backward drooling cavemen from 'down y'unda' and he had a kick-ass f#cking creature feature. There was blood, oh mannnn was there blood. seriously, some super inventive deaths. There were flames (metal as fuck,) there was Aussie lingo ( he even included a glossary for you non-aussie's,) and there was a deeper meaning underneath it all. A message for us all to be better people, to look out for one another and most importantly to look at ourselves and make changes before its too late. I had an absolute blast reading this book and I am proud to have made a new friend in Alan during the process. why are you still reading this? go get some f#cking skippy up ya and read this book asap.
Profile Image for Ryder Kinlay.
Author 8 books85 followers
September 4, 2022
I eagerly wanted to read this “tail” by Alan being an Aussie and from the Outback. I remember the stories of this over muscle Red Kangaroo, the memes are hilarious.

I loved the vernacular and the twist at the end. I also thought the small Aussie town connection was well done. It was a great creature feature story from one of our best in the indie horror industry.

Only criticism is the repetition of the description of the roo, it jarred me, but highly recommend.
Profile Image for Amanda Kent.
118 reviews3 followers
January 10, 2021
Just a rippa bloody giant roo, slicing up a small town that has enough issues without this bastard tearing up more havok. So much fun, easy to read, has a nice message at the end and well worth your time. Not that you will even need much of it. Was a pleasure to start the year off with this one.
Profile Image for Cassie Daley.
Author 8 books202 followers
May 10, 2022
Full review on my blog!: https://letsgetgalactic.com/2020/04/2...

If you're not heavy into the book Twitter scene, the idea popped up to do a bunch of books about different animals with covers by Kealan Patrick Burke, owner of Elder Lemon Design, to benefit wildlife. This one was the first (I think?? that I know of?!) in that whole thing, and a bunch of us bookish community folk jumped in to give very emphatic YES votes to the ideas being thrown around.⁠

As a gift from the Author Gods for our services (aka, wildly yelling from Twitter to 'PLEASE KILL ME, ALAN, OMG!!!', not even joking!) a bunch of folks within the community were actually WRITTEN INTO THIS BOOK!!! So if you read it, you'll recognize a few awesome fellow fans of horror fiction! INCLUDING ME!!! HOW FLIPPING COOL IS THAT?!?!⁠ Some of my favorite people within the community are in the book - and lots of us die horrible, brutal, amazing deaths!! Wanna know if I live or die?! You have to read to find out!!⁠

Fangirling aside, this is one heck of a creature feature. Even if my name didn't appear on the pages, I'd have had a lot of fun reading this one. The combination of gore and bloodshed mixed with small town life in Australia made for a unique reading experience for me - I especially loved that the book comes with its own glossary for those of us who don't know what the heck some of that Aussie lingo means!

This novella is short, and because of the length of the story, you're thrown into the action right away. The cast of characters is pretty large, but I didn't have any trouble keeping folks straight. I loved the close-knit, small town vibes, and especially loved seeing folks band together to defeat the Big Bad Roo. The storytelling is fast-paced and over the top in the best way, and if you're looking for something to pull you out of a reading slump by kanga-pounding you over the head with a ter-ROO-fic (heh heh) good time, let this be the one to do it!
March 18, 2020
I just have to admit to myself and everyone else that I love what I call creature-feature horror. So when I saw talk of Roo being released, buying a copy was a no-brainer. Plus I have read a previous book from Baxter and really enjoyed it as well.

Roo is about what happens when a giant teeth-filled kangaroo starts terrorizing the small town of Morgan Creek. After a rowdy night at a bar, a lone town member falls prey and by the time people figure out he is gone, the roo has already done some damage. The town bands together to stop the killer and better yet, find out why there is a giant roo running around killing everyone in sight.

So Roo was kind of just what I was expected which was a good thing - Blood, gore and kangaroo created carnage. I liked the townspeople well enough and I can definitely say the book was action packed. I also want to add that this book came about due to a twitter conversation between the author and some of his friends/fans. There is a preface in the beginning which explains it all and I just found the whole inception so intriguing. That being said, the author chose to use real individual's names, who had participated in the conversation, as the character names and while I appreciate that, I also found it extremely annoying. I was constantly recognizing names in the horror world and it seemed to pull me out of the story.

Finally, I must address the swearing. I love snarky, foul-mouthed characters. In a past life, I even cursed like a sailor. Yet even I was amazed at the amount of times "f**k" or some form of it was used in this novella. If I had a physical copy, I might have even been tempted to do a physical count. It was used THAT much.

So overall, if you want some gruesome gore at the hands of a giant kangaroo, then definitely pick this up. I definitely did enjoy seeing all the stupid people a roo could wipe off the Australian map.
Profile Image for Plagued by Visions.
182 reviews436 followers
June 23, 2021
Horror doesn’t have to be highbrow or challenging for it to be fun. This is certainly not the kind of horror I’m used to reading, but with such a premise, cover design, and lean page length, I was only expecting some good old killer roo fun and not much else—and, sadly, it hardly delivered even on that front.

The premise, just by its nature, is doomed to run thin on a longer project such as this, and even if the book is only 122 pages, with considerably large font and blank pages within, up to the middle of the book, things became repetitive fast, and I found myself stalling and looking for any reason to keep going. Baxter hardly makes an effort to keep the premise interesting, so obviously well-rounded characters and tone are out of the question. The end, however, picks up with hellish delight, and does justice to the ridiculousness of it all, the way I would’ve liked the entire book to be. And even then, the final pages feel incoherent and somewhat rushed. The writing is devoid of any particular style or flourish, and the journey to arrive at the climax was as bumpy as an old road along the outback. Also, Baxter tacks on some attempts at social commentary that are flimsy and even feel somewhat offensive in their offhandedness.

I get it—this book is meant to be a joke, but it’s not a very fun joke, and I paid money for it. I’d say most people purchase this book and rate it highly simply because of the ridiculousness of its premise and the admittedly cool cover art. However, in that sense, I would describe this book as the literary version of a pez dispenser—the treats inside are generic and bland, but that hardly matters, because you probably just bought it for the cool-looking container. I’d say this book works best as a display, some rad horror deco, and not much else. The highest props really go to Kealan Patrick Burke.

EDIT: On second thought, the redeeming qualities don’t really justify a 2-star rating. 1 1/2 is more like it, rounded down to 1.
Profile Image for Kim Napolitano.
291 reviews35 followers
November 6, 2020
Bloody Good Fun!

When this novella hit my library I had to read it right away! If you read the introduction you’ll see that Mr. Baxter used real names of real people in the horror community, I’m sorry most of you didn’t survive. You don’t need know any of those details other then to hop along with a satanic killer kangaroo as it terrorizes a small outback farming community. Mr. Baxter does bring to light some serious issues like domestic violence and depression that was well written in the story. It’s also about friendships and community. No spoilers! Well worth the few hours to read then I’ll meet you at the Pub! Enjoy!
Profile Image for Alan.
948 reviews51 followers
March 28, 2020
Now, THAT was a fun book. Fast-paced, no holds barred brutal action, logic and reasoning cast aside for good old fashioned creature horror. If a Syfy/Asylum movie were written by someone with actual talent, it would be this.
Profile Image for Jeremy Maddux.
Author 5 books136 followers
April 24, 2021
This doesn't hype itself as anything other than a giant killer 'roo story, which is most of its charm. It is also its own hindrance.
Profile Image for William M..
568 reviews57 followers
August 30, 2021

While the beginning, middle, and end of this book falls into place in a fairly standard way for a monster-runs-amok story, the kills are so crazy and outlandish, it really deserves to be read. Once the reader suspends their disbelief about the realism of this book, the narrative becomes quite an enjoyable time. Author Alan Baxter lines up the characters and then, like a line of bowling pins, knocks them down one by one in a gloriously violent and gory fashion. This lean story has no fat, constantly moving from one exciting scene to another until the cool, but predictable, climax. Because the book is closer to a novella length, this is a very accessible book for horror fans that don't normally read horror fiction. They could finish it in one or two sittings. The Roo is a preposterous idea, of course, but you just need to run with it and have fun.
Profile Image for Laurel.
362 reviews26 followers
March 7, 2020
Any horror fan seeing this book on the shelf would be compelled to pick it up - I mean, just look at that cover. And then you're thinking, this is seriously about a murderous kangaroo? No one could really pull that off, could they?

Actually, yeah they could - Alan Baxter, ladies and gentlemen. The Roo is an epic and enjoyable piece of storytelling crafted by a master author applying his skill to a subject that started as a joke. The pacing is excellent, the characters and setting interesting and well drawn, and that Roo. On a rampage of blood, its human fodder scattering before it in great gouts of blood and viscera, enough to satisfy the goriest of appetites. And in case you were thinking there's no legend here, think again - Baxter did this story right. I particularly enjoyed the way he drew the players in this small, isolated town in to make the most of this creature feature.

This is one of those books that's a joy to speed through, but also makes the reader sit up and take notice - Alan Baxter is a damn good author, and ooo looky here at that back catalog! No one call me for a while, I'll be catching up.
Profile Image for Luke.
534 reviews34 followers
July 23, 2020
Photoshop is responsible for a lot of things. Most of them are bad, but in the case of this novella – written in response to the image which ended up as its cover – Adobe should be profusely thanked.

The world has a serious lack of stories about rampaging kangaroos. Even fewer of those involve exploding heads, multiple appearances of the phrase "shit cunt", and can be read in about an hour. Alan Baxter has filled the void pretty well, here.

Also, there's this in the introduction:
If you’re not too familiar with the anatomy of kangaroos, may I also suggest you Google ‘kangaroo feet’ before you start reading. Seriously, you might think you know, but have another look. They’re insane.

That they are.

I'm uncertain whether you know this, but kangaroos can be big bastards. I mean, check out this unit:

That's a real-life town pest. All Baxter has done with this book is amped up the reality, added in a little bit of revenge and set it in the sort of tiny town in which I now live. He's also shoehorned in some laughably horrible violence, and worked in a decent call for better work on domestic violence, a blight on all Australia, rural or otherwise.

Not bad for about 130 pages, right?

What results is uncut ocker, pure Ozploitation. It's an excellent thumbnail sketch of small town life, one that – murderous national symbols aside – isn't really that far from the truth. Though the somewhat hamfisted way the small townsfolk deal with a rampant roo is pretty understandable if you bear in mind that we're the nation that started a war against our other national symbol and lost

The writing is snappy, and there's a distinct sense of fun through the horror. I imagine this was a blast to write, and there seem to be a number of little gems buried for attentive readers to grab – am I the only one who thinks the town's name is paying tribute to the Sheik of Scrubby Creek himself, Chad Morgan?

Ahem. Anyway, if you were looking for some knifey-spooney level Australianisms, they're thick and fast here, though not always in their time-honoured format. I suppose substituting a dingo's dick for a donger – while borderline unAustralian – is necessary to keep OS readers in the loop. (Thankfully, there's a glossary at the end, just in case you are baffled by boot-rooting bastards and Akubras.)
“Fucken hell,” John breathed. “That’s the biggest fucken roo I ever saw.” He giggled, maybe a little more drunk than he had first allowed. “Go on, Skip!” he shouted. “Go on, fuck off!”

Make no mistake, this is Ozploitation at its finest. It's also ridiculously fun. It is as Australian as, well, football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars – all of which appear within, I think – and is peppered liberally with swearing and hearts of gold. There's an acknowledgement of how hard life can be in rural societies, and the troubles that are passed on.

I loved it. I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a movie by Netflix, those Sharknado people, or even Peter Jackson if he ever deigned to get back to practical effects, fake blood and anything hobbit-free. This is a ball-tearer of a popcorn read, costs less than a fiver on Kindle and is likely the most fun I've had reading all year.

(Take that, Proust!)
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