Rare Breeds by Erik Hofstatter is a quick read and pacing rolls along, picking up speed until hectic. Set in the dreary household of a working class family: a mother, a stepfather and the daughter. For the purpose of the story, the daughter is almost like a pocket watch, taken out now and then to gage the elements. Of the three main characters to this this tale, she’s the least rounded –moody, unsure of herself, easily grossed out.
The other two aren’t as vague.
Mother works long hours, pumps iron and drinks beer, on it's own, this series of attributes offers a quirky feel. Step-Papa is a whole ‘nother story altogether. Stepfather has a lot more moving parts amid the cogs and pulleys. There’s a twist to this plot that resembles a certain Thomas Tryon classic about brothers. From miles away, as if peering through a telescope atop a bird’s nest on a clear, calm water day, the twist comes at you and eventually meets the predictable expectations before jerking sideways, off onto a strange, and welcome, direction.
There’s suspense here, once the second half gets going, it really shakes and there’s no putting it down. At times humor pokes its head into the story, but really steps out at the dreary, morbid finale.
Rare Breeds is an utterly dark, utterly odd horror thriller you can dive and climb out of in under two hours (even moderately paced readers like myself). There are some points that seemed to have misfired or gone off beyond reason, and yet, this novella is entertaining and the peculiarity of the cast and the setting makes for an enjoyable backdrop.