Verdict: Steven Ramirez impressively merges horror with light comedy and romance in CHAINSAW HONEYMOON and skillfully brings these genres together in a page-turning work.
In this tale of a daughter literally trying to scare her estranged parents back together, Steven Ramirez combines the horror/slasher film and literature genres with the light comedy/romance of a Cary Grant film.
Both genres present challenges on their own. Horror of course demands an ability to terrify the reader/viewer without straining their credulity while at the same time deliver a satisfying payoff. Writers/directors of the genre have, as film critic Pauline Kael once said, a limited amount of time to hook the viewers (Kael gauged this to be the first 30 minutes of a film). Hence, those who traffic in this genre have to keep up a fast pace without necessarily losing the reader.
Light comedy has even more challenging demands. Unlike horror, comedy has to deliver from the get-go. Writers and filmmakers of comedy don’t have the luxury of the build-up that is afforded horror writers and directors. What is amazing about CHAINSAW HONEYMOON is how Ramirez surmounts both of these demands. Added to these accomplishments is his ability to present the viewpoint of a 14 year-old girl. In the form of Ruby, Ramirez imparts to readers all the confusion brought about by puberty; the emotional neediness camouflaged by sarcasm; the obsession and continuing frustration with boys; and the bonds female teenagers forge with one another.
Through Ruby’s eyes we are given the heartbreak of parents’ separation and divorce. Emotionally wounded, but of course not letting that show to either parent, Ruby is also hilarious in her irritation at the inconvenience of being shuffled between parents. The reader will be amused in how her reconciliation efforts are as much about ending this physical inconvenience as it is ending her pain.
Ruby’s love of horror—not always the usual hobby of girls— serves her well in this strategy. Ramirez, who has written numerous novels of horror, and is clearly an expert of the genre, gives Ruby all of his knowledge. With this, Ruby attempts to scare, courtesy of a nightmare figure similar to the chainsaw-wielding murderer of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, her parents back to each other.
To go further would deny the reader the value of this novel. Suffice to say Ramirez makes the reader and laugh and recoil.
~Ron Capshaw for IndieReader