Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco

April 14, 2018

...she is me and I am she and blood on her hands is blood on mine.

I was lucky enough to receive and read an ARC of Rough Animals, the debut novel from Rae DelBianco due to hit shelves June 5th, 2018. Thank you Johanna at Skyhorse Publishing for trusting me and sending a copy my way. 

Twins, Wyatt and Lucy are isolated on their vast ranch in the unforgiving wild of Utah and struggling to survive when Wyatt is shot by a feral and bloodthirsty girl as she guns down his cattle. Knowing this loss means the end of their farm, Wyatt has no other choice but to hunt her down and demand compensation. 

There is no question, Rae is a gifted writer and Rough Animals is not only a wild, unnerving story, but a heart-hammering experience. While spilled blood and savage descriptions are constant, Rae's passionate writing transports you into a world full of unforgiving, brutal beauty. Despite reading the bulk during a rainy and foggy Spring day, I could literally feel the desert sun leaching the cold away. Throughout the novel there are moments of repulsive carnage that demand your unflinching attention but force you to choke back your own disgust which displays the brilliance of Rae's prowess.

Each character we encounter are described with a visceral paintbrush and meticulous diligence. There are no formulaic characters here, only ones as ravaged and unforgiving as the merciless world they dwell in. While I am usually drawn to the harsher characters, DelBianco's Lucy haunts this novel with her airy and moth-like delicateness. So fragile, but a constant knocking on Wyatt's conscience, each of them the moth and also the flame.

This is ultimately a story of survival, self discovery, and love although it's blood-soaked with a mantle of sand. If you like The Godfather, The Patriot, or any other epics full of revenge, familial bonds, and brutal bloodshed you're sure to enjoy Rough Animals.

my rating: 4/5


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