I’ve mentioned repeatedly my love for short bites of horror – indie short films, horror anthologies, spooky stories – and Killing Your Boss by James DeSantis certainly fits the bill. It’s a short story, but at just over forty pages reads more like a mini novel. And there’s a lot going on within a short time frame. The story beings with a quote, “Horror is the removal of masks.” – Robert Bloch, an apt description of the unpleasantness which is about to unfold in front of us.
We are introduced to Ben and Ron, friends since childhood and working in a struggling supermarket together. Employed alongside them is Ron’s girlfriend Alisha, who Ben secretly has feelings for. Bullied by their overbearing boss – Kurt, Ron convinces his friend and girlfriend to assist him in Kurt’s murder. The evening that follows is one of brutal violence where no one is as they seem. The relationship between the three central characters is entirely believable. They’re real people, in real terrible jobs who’ve been pushed too far, and their reaction to Kurt in many way mirrors the feeling many of us have experienced towards our superiors. Kurt is the focus of an early chapter which goes some way to explaining his behaviour. He’s not a stock evil boss character who we immediately intensely dislike, our desire for him to be taken down grows as the story progresses.
There is an obvious influence of films like Saw and Hostel in the story. A great deal of it is centred on the violence, physical and psychological torture. For this element to the story, horror fans have seen the story before, and read for the originality of the methods. DeSantis delivers on this count – with some creative torture methods that we guarantee will make you wince. There is an element of sexual violence too, but it is handled well and provides more complexity to Kurt’s character rather than being gratuitous.
There’s a lot to like in this story, and at just over forty pages, it’s not going to take up a huge amount of your time. Fast paced, horror-centred and character driven, we’d highly recommend you grab a digital copy of Killing Your Boss and check it out for yourself.
You can find the book for digital download on Amazon.
In the clip below, James explains a little more about the story.