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Red X

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  747 ratings  ·  182 reviews
A hunted community. A haunted author. A horror that spans centuries.

Men are disappearing from Toronto's gay village. They're the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. Against the shifting backdrop of homophobia throughout the decades, from the HIV/AIDS crisis and riots against rai
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 31st 2021 by Strange Light
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David Unfortunate things happen to a number of animals in the book. However, the cats get through it all unscathed.

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  747 ratings  ·  182 reviews


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Sadie Hartmann
Aug 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Review originally published at Cemetery Dance:
https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/...

I’m officially a fan of authors breaking the fourth wall within their novels in order to communicate directly to their readers in their own voice. I’m here for it. Red X is the second book I’ve read this year to use this literary device.

This book wouldn’t have been the same experience without Demchuk’s personal and vulnerable account of his own struggles as they relate to the story.

Both Red X and Demchuk’s firs
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Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jul 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
This is a horror novel like no other.


It feels strange to rate and review a book as personal as this one. The author poured so much of his own self and history into the prose. Woven between the chapters, the author inserts commentary on his own experience that lead to writing the book, completely breaking the fourth wall. I honestly never completely knew where the line was between fact and fiction. The story was so intimate that it became a very emotional read. I can be a very cold hear
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Janelle Janson
Aug 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2021
I am still thinking about this book. Review to come.
George K. Ilsley
This started out as five stars, because I was thrilled by the creepy themes and the familiar Toronto setting. But as the page count progressed, the story didn't really seem to go anywhere. A repetitive element crept in, and with that, a lack of suspense.

My major gripe is the "journal" sections which are presented in unnumbered pages and a monospaced (fixed-pitch) font. This font was not as ugly as courier spewed from a dot matrix printer but was certainly the next worse thing. I found it challen
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Brittany (hauntedbycandlelight)
2 months ago, I sat down to read RED X. I originally had a kindle copy from NetGalley, but the formatting was so bad that I put it to rest and call it a DNF. The author has since been awesome enough to send me a physical copy for review.

Unfortunately, I made the tough decision to DNF this book again at 60%.

I am from Windsor, Ontario. The events of this book take place in Toronto, Ontario. This is a big deal. A book about The Village is important. And I was very excited to read this.

Regretfull
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Lata
Sep 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
Using the murders of several gay men in Toronto as the basis for this book, author David Demchuk weaves in memoir-like sections into the horror narrative. I say memoir-like because at one point Demchuk, or the unnamed narrator, interacts with one of the characters in the story. She, among various others within the Toronto gay and lesbian community, have noticed that some of their acquaintances and friends have gone missing. Demchuk brings otherworldly horror into an already horrific st
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Steve Stred
Aug 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 star review coming to Kendall Reviews!
Tim McGregor
Sep 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Starting out as a mystery about men vanishing from Toronto's gay community, David Demchuk weaves a tour de force of storytelling through horror, true crime, history and personal memoir that left this reader absolutely spellbound. Frightening, searing, tragic, and heartbreakingly human to the core. One of the best books I've read this year. ...more
Dennis
Oct 13, 2021 marked it as dnf
I feel like a horrible gay for DNFing this important book, but the writing style lost me completely. I think if the narrative was broken out by POV instead of specific dates, I'd have a better time following along. Maybe I'll come back to it - I've seen so many amazing reviews for this book. ...more
Aiden Merchant
Aug 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5

PLEASE NOTE: I originally reviewed Red X several weeks ago and gave it 3.75 out of 5.0 due to the difficulties I had with my digital ARC. The publisher has since sent me a paperback for comparison and I have re-read much of the book so that I can update my review (which follows).

Let me begin by saying I love the design and production of this paperback. It has a soft cover that imitates a hardcover and is complete with back and front flaps. The pages appear to be recycled in
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Ceeceeloves
Sep 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Men are going missing from Toronto’s gay village.

Wow.

This was Peter Straub’s Ghost Story but instead of cigars, dark academia and an old boys club, it was neon lights and thumping disco music at gay bars. A modern horror tale, a retelling of history, and a harrowing blend of fact and fiction woven together to create something that was, quite frankly, terrifying.

This is the city, a neighbourhood vibrant and bustling with people and nightlife. Somehow this made it eerier. It was disconcerting an
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inciminci
Throughout the last few decades the gay village of Toronto Church and Wellesley witnesses many a horror: homophobia, HIV, police brutality, indifference of society… But taking a closer look one will see an additional terror, as if these were not enough. A monster that is firmly anchored in Toronto’s history and roots but also in British folklore, a barghest, haunts a group of people that are sometimes loosely sometimes firmly connected to each other over the span of about 40 years. It is up to t ...more
Brad Jennings
Jan 15, 2022 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brahm
Dec 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: mfbc
Great book club pick as there will be a lot to unpack and discuss.

Spoilers follow.

(view spoiler)
...more
Michael Erickson
Aug 21, 2022 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, gay
I've never seen a book spend so much time threatening to be interesting without managing to do so.

Maybe I should've given up on this book sooner and saved myself from it, but there was always just enough of something around the next corner that kept pulling me forward to see what would happen next. There was an underlying logic that you would get flashes of, that wanted to be told, but the whole thing never materializes into an "aha!" moment. Instead you're left with an ending that's not so much
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Netanella
I love this book, about a supernatural monster with an acquired taste for the gay men of Toronto, cultivated over years.

From the publisher: Men are disappearing from Toronto's gay village. They're the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. Against the shifting backdrop of homophobia throughout the decades, from the HIV/AIDS crisis and riots against raids to gentrification and police brutality, the survivors
...more
Colin Gooding
Dec 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
There are some interesting concepts here and the subject matter is important, but this book just didn't really work for me. I'm not sure if listening to this as an audiobook affected my enjoyment, but I found the writing to be mostly unengaging (except for some of the supernatural stuff) and the characters felt underdeveloped.

I was also made uncomfortable by the depictions of sexual violence, which obviously is the intent and that's fine, but what bothered me more is that since that is an ever-
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Hailey Piper
Sep 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Demchuk's ambitious novel about the disappearances of gay men in Toronto, Canada for decades, and centuries, cuts its narrative with the horrors of folkloric dread, scenes of slasher tension, and the pain of societal neglect and disdain. Torn across hard times and troubled characters, the years eat at both those who go missing and those left behind.

It's a unique manner of storytelling, slipping between history and now, when the author searches for answers. The sometimes journalistic approach ma
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Heather Horror Hellion
Jan 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
You know those books you sit with and they just live in your brain? This will be one of those books.

The book is unsettling, heart breaking, and you just want to collect all the characters and protect them and love them.

The writing style is so clever and he wrote himself into his own story.

I'm gonna sit and stare out the window for a while contemplating the cruelty of life.

If you get a chance to read it please do it..
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Justin Lewis
Aug 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For decades, gay men have gone missing from Toronto, vanishing without a trace. Their friends and family left with nothing to go on. As patterns emerge over time, our characters learn there's something truly sinister preying on these men. And it's happening again...

This book is so many things; part horror novel, part memoir, part tribute (in a way), and all heart. The story takes place over a long stretch of time and interspersed between these time jumps are the author's memories of what it was
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Joel Hill
Nov 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
I don't want to spoil many of my thoughts since I'll be discussing in book club. I'll just say enjoyed it, but it did make some storytelling choices that really hampered my enthusiasm. Can't wait to talk about it. Might be closer to a 3.5/5? ...more
Octavia Cade
Mar 16, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Three and a half stars, rounding up to four. Over the years, gay men are disappearing in Toronto. They're hardly looked for - outside of their own minority circles they're not even missed - disenfranchised as they are from the wider world. It sounds like a set-up for a serial killer, and it is, sort of, except the killer is a beast out of folk tale that seduces vulnerable outsiders, and carries them off to an extremely sticky end.

This pattern is repeated, over and over, and if I sometimes felt
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Patrick Forbes
May 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
New York Times would probably leave a quote saying “Terrifying.”
I’m not New York Times so my quote will be “Fucking Terrifying.”

There was a few pages towards the end of the book where I let out an audible yelp and started to cry because I got so scared for a brief moment.
I’ve never actually been scared by a book before.

This one hit close to home, being Canadian, living in Toronto-adjacent , and even growing up in Windsor (spoiler: where the first victim is from), I had my heart in my throat for
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James Berry
Oct 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, favourites
Terrifically haunting. I just finished just now, and I'm still gripped by the ichor and gore and palpable grit and dirt that was thrown at me page after page this past week, the history that plummets through Toronto's cement and foundations. The dark queerness of the centuries and the stark, florid prose into which I want to tangle my fingers. Demchuk nailed the malaise of queer nightlife and routine whilst also marrying it to gothic, Celtic, haunting history. I could read a thousand such novels ...more
blake
Jun 28, 2022 rated it liked it
After reading the first chapter, I was so excited for this book. It seemed like Demchuk was going to tell this story by straddling the boundary of true-crime and horror. Unfortunately, my own expectations let me down.

It’s not so much that the plot loses itself after Chapter 1, but more that it remains oddly limited by repetition and characters that I either forgot about or couldn’t find my way back to. The horror elements were successfully executed and I really enjoyed learning about Toronto’s
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Krystin Rachel
Book Blog | Bookstagram

Filed Under: Desperately trying to put that fourth wall back together

I really and truly wanted to love this as much as everyone else, but as should come as a surprise to literally no one, I did not. I liked it enough, but a few things were throwing me off – it reads like two different books, the pacing is all over the place and the anthology-style chapters became repetitive because there really didn’t seem to be a point.

I mean, I guess the point could be that bad things ha
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Etain Ryan
Aug 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how to do justice to this book in a review. I received an arc copy from a colleague at Indigo. He had stopped reading it as he had got nightmares from it. I can see why! I am not a horror reader but this being an lgbtq* story set in my hometown of Toronto piqued my interest.

Wow is all I can say. It is hard to define this book as it feels more than a horror book. It's like reading several different genres and writing styles in one with everything woven expertly together by a talente
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Robyn
Nov 30, 2021 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF, sorry Joel. I can't do it. Obviously this author is amazing at creating a truly dread-ful tone because this book is far too creepy and scary for me to handle. I feel bad abandoning it because it sounds like an important book, based in real life horrors that one should probably bear some witness to but it's just not something I think I can deal with right now. ...more
Marla
Nov 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I tabbed, hilighted and made margin notes in my physical copy. I love a book that makes me look for patterns and figure things out. David Demchuk's writing is still so so good after enjoying Bone Mother so much. ...more
Lauren Hannough-Bergmans
Jul 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic and original piece of writing. A stunning combination of horror, fourth wall breaking, and social commentary about queer people interacting with the world. I was surprised and delighted by this one and will be seeking this author out as much as possible.
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