Burden Kansas

Burden Kansas

by Alan Ryker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615475370
Publisher: Sucker Punch Press
Publication date: 03/31/2011
Pages: 142
Sales rank: 554,047
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Alan Ryker writes good fight scenes because he practices Muay Thai boxing, though not as often as his coach would like. He lives with his wife in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, where he writes both dark and literary fiction, and tests the boundaries of each. He has previously published short fiction in a number of print anthologies and magazines.

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Burden Kansas 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
The-Gordon-Composition More than 1 year ago
"Burden Kansas," a novella by Alan Ryker (Sucker Punch Press, March 2011), is probably the most unsexy vampire story ever written. However, inasmuch as it forgoes any romantic notions of vampirism, I believe its themes hit closer to home for most people. Ryker's vampires are much more like rabid animals than sexy immortal humans. They live in muddy holes under trees, stink of death, and come out to feed primarily on cattle. But things take a turn when two of the main character's trailer-trashy enemies become vampires themselves during a botched fertilizer theft. Did I mention this was an un-sexy story? The main character is Keith Harris, a rough-and-tumble alcoholic farmer who put his wife to sleep like an injured dog while she lay dying of cancer in the ICU. He has a niece, Jessica, who ends up an unlikely surviving hero following a brutal decapitation she does with a hatchet as a form of mercy killing in its own right. But you'll have to read the story to find out whose head rolls in the end. Rather than detail the entire plot of this short novel (140 pages) and inevitably spoil the punch line, I'd like to comment on the main theme "Burden Kansas" illustrates. That is the impossibility of redemption. In this story, the meth-heads (Dennis and Brandon) pay for their sins by the eternal hell of becoming rabid vampires who are hunted by hounds and farmers with shotguns. Keith the farmer meets his own torture at the hands of Dennis whom he bullied and mercilessly injured at some point in the past. Jessica, the conduct-disordered drug-addicted teen, ends up alone and facing the bloody dead bodies of all the people who ever cared about her. Thus we see a moral evolving from this theme of no redemption: you will do the crime (we all do), and you will do the time-we all do. There is no happy ending, only a burden. Except for Keith Harris, the characters are a bit flat and some of the action is cliché if not downright out of character. With descriptions about Jessica such as "She put her hands on her hips and scowled at him." One tends to envision a spunky teen from Leave it to Beaver, not a hatchet-wielding, ex-drug addict, will-be vampire killer. Nevertheless, this novel is dark, fast paced, original in its concept. Anyone interested in Vampire gothic would do well to pick up a copy for themselves. If there's a sequel (and there should be), I'll no doubt be reading it and enjoying it myself, just like I did this one. Personally, I think "Burden Kansas" would make a great mini-series on HBO.
JamesRTuck More than 1 year ago
Good stuff from Mr. Ryker. The book was a fast read, kept the pace going, had a nice "whoa, this is messed up" vibe going on, and kept me entertained. The writing is nice and sparse, keeping the focus on the story. These vampires are much closer to the way I imagine vampires. They will eat your face off. And the cover, the cover is breathtaking. I would hang a poster of that cover if I had one. All in all, a very enjoyable book and well worth buying.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
This had a little different view on vampires. It made it more oringal. kept me interested to see how it all worked out at the end. Keith is a ranger and somthing been killing his cattle and his nieghbors cattle. The sheriff came out to see what he could see but he hates keith. A scientist from federal goverment has come out and knows a little about the creature but not much. Keith ends up trapping one and learned a little bit more about them and knows how to stop them from killing his cows. Keith wife had cancer and keith drinks a lot but he is close with his niece and brother. Makes some really tough decisions and asks others to make them to. I can see how this could lead to more stories along the way. I liked the story. It given an ebook inexchange for honest review.
enewt823 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Super impressed!If you are looking for sparkly vamps, you won't find them here!Ryker has written a vampire story where the vamps are smelly, underground-dwelling, desperate, cow's-blood-drinkers. Keith Harris, the main character is tough as nails and the story ends up being a quick, but fulfilling vampire story.
kmboyett on LibraryThing 5 months ago
While this technically was a vampire story, in reality it was more of a character study of small town relationships. Short and well structured, I enjoyed this story although there were places where the scene changes were particularly disorienting. As another reviewer said, I hope to see more stories, Jessica in particular, in this series.
jessibelle on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A short story about vampires in Kansas. I quite enjoyed it as it was probably the vampires were the most animalistic compared to many versions I have read over the years. Told from about 5 different points of views, the story wasn't lost in the back and forth. Thrilling and action packed, it's worth the read.
LJF on LibraryThing 5 months ago
In the wake of pretty-boy Vampires & sweet Southern faerie vamp lovers, comes Alan Ryker, trailing behind him the real thing. Vampires...ugly, animal-like, smelly, and mean...and one (one town dealer) who has a semblance of intelligence left....just enough to spawn cruel vengeance. Add in a "hero" who isn't, whom you love to hate (or at least I did), and you have a real, modern-day Vampire thriller. It takes place in the farmlands of Kansas, where something has been slaughtering cattle. The local sheriff calls in an expert, but no one can figure out quite what is going on. No one, that is, but Keith Harris, our hero (sort of), who discovers & figures out the mystery and takes the solution into his own hands. Keith has his own struggles to contend with, and soon we begin to wonder who the true monster really is.This is an excellent novella for those who pine for mean, ruthless, vampires who stalk their prey and ruthlessly devour them. The only negative I could say about it, is that it wasn't long enough!
abcarroll on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When something starts attacking the cattle in a small town in Kansas everyone gets worried. These attacks don't look like anythingn they have seen before. Keith, a loner of a rancher, discovers what has been attacking his cattle and tries to use it to his advantage. It seems that Keith's past will come back to haunt him and even threatens those he loves the most. This book draws you in and keeps you wanting to turn the page.
ShariDragon on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Interesting take on vampires and drug addiction. Who knew. Brutal short story featuring vampires and red necks. I enjoyed the story, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't like bloody horror stories.
Scoshie on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Short and Sweet, Sweetly Brutal. I was hooked after the 1st chapter. Thought is was a little short but that does not mean that this story is lacking. It goes right into the action and keeps the momentum all the way --Rancher Keith Harris feels it is up to him to taken on the burdens of his family and he does it with style. Really hope Jessica gets her own follow up story line!!
RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing 5 months ago
ALAN RYKER'S "BURDEN KANSAS" (REVIEW)This book scared the **** out of me! I think it was because I every time Alan Ryker mentioned the vampires shrieking I kept having flashbacks of "30 Days of Night". If you've seen that movie you definitely know what I mean. It's bad enough to imagine vampires of this type attacking animals and eventually people but then you have to put a certain amount of intelligence with them as well and you've got yourself quite the horror story. I enjoyed this book immensely, it was a fast read in pace and length. I hope Alan Ryker writes more I would even love to see what happens to Jessica later in life, this story has the makings of a series! Bring it on Alan, bring it on!-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
sandyg210 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This was an interesting mix of a classic horror story and a western setting. If you're looking for a good story and don't mind blood and gore then I'd recommend Burden Kansas.
cdhtenn2k10 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The best vampire story I've read in a long time. Refreshingly lean, Ryker doesn't burden his tale with padded descriptions or unnecessary characters or character arcs.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This had a little different view on vampires. It made it more oringal. kept me interested to see how it all worked out at the end. Keith is a ranger and somthing been killing his cattle and his nieghbors cattle. The sheriff came out to see what he could see but he hates keith. A scientist from federal goverment has come out and knows a little about the creature but not much.Keith ends up trapping one and learned a little bit more about them and knows how to stop them from killing his cows. Keith wife had cancer and keith drinks a lot but he is close with his niece and brother. Makes some really tough decisions and asks others to make them to. I can see how this could lead to more stories along the way. I liked the story. It given an ebook inexchange for honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ravenswood_Reviews More than 1 year ago
ALAN RYKER'S "BURDEN KANSAS" (REVIEW) This book scared the **** out of me! I think it was because I every time Alan Ryker mentioned the vampires shrieking I kept having flashbacks of "30 Days of Night". If you've seen that movie you definitely know what I mean. It's bad enough to imagine vampires of this type attacking animals and eventually people but then you have to put a certain amount of intelligence with them as well and you've got yourself quite the horror story. I enjoyed this book immensely, it was a fast read in pace and length. I hope Alan Ryker writes more I would even love to see what happens to Jessica later in life, this story has the makings of a series! Bring it on Alan, bring it on! -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
StaceyWallaceBenefiel More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this novella. If you're a fan of horror, vampires and/or westerns, you will too. The writing is beautiful and compact. Mr. Ryker knows how to choose just the right words to describe the stark landscape of the plains and the tough people that live there. There are several thrilling action scenes interspersed with quieter scenes that have great emotional impact. For no longer than Burden Kansas is, I still connected with the characters. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
abcarroll More than 1 year ago
When something starts attacking the cattle in a small town in Kansas everyone gets worried. These attacks don't look like anythingn they have seen before. Keith, a loner of a rancher, discovers what has been attacking his cattle and tries to use it to his advantage. It seems that Keith's past will come back to haunt him and even threatens those he loves the most. This book draws you in and keeps you wanting to turn the page.