A sinister novel based on the real Bloody Benders, a family of serial killers in the old West bound by butchery and obscured by the shadows of American history.
The winds shift nervously on the Kansas plain whispering of travelers lost and buried, whispering of witches. Something dark and twisted has taken root at the Bender Inn.
At first the townspeople of Cherryvale welcome the rising medium Kate Bender and her family. Kate’s messages from the Beyond give their tedious dreams hope and her mother’s potions cure their little ills—for a price. No one knows about their other business, the shortcut to a better life. And why shouldn’t their family prosper? They’re careful. It’s only from those who are marked, those who travel alone and can easily disappear, that the Benders demand their pound of flesh.
But even a gifted seer like Kate can make a misstep. Now as the secrets festering beneath the soil of the family orchard threaten to bring them all to ruin, the Benders must sharpen their craft—or vanish themselves.
Camilla Bruce has taken the true story of The Bloody Benders of Kansas and woven a story about these sinister serial killers that reveals the darkness at the core of humanity. She immediately immerses you into the voices of Benders, in particular, Kate and Elvira, daughter and mother. She also invents a third character to fill in for the voice of the townspeople experiencing the work of the Benders. These three different points of view allow the reader to engage with both sides of the story and present a unique vision into the thoughts of the Benders, their possible motives and why they killed others.
The story of the Benders is messy, complicated and delves into true human darkness. It chills you to the bone understanding that not only were these real killers but that they were so willing to harm others for their own gain. While the story was slow and the characters difficult to like, the story was a fascinating study of The Bloody Benders of Kansas. The story kept me engaged and wanting to find out what would happen. I also love that the author kept it as realistic and authentic as possible.
If you like stories of serial killers and want to learn more about this unusual family, I recommend the novel. It was slow and sometimes included unnecessary details for me. I also don’t normally read much about serial killers so you can take my review with that in mind. But I thought this was a fascinating study into the minds of the Benders with the author keeping the narrative focused on these sinister serial killers. While you might not like the characters, I think you will find the story incredibly intriguing.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 buttons