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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Scum Encouraged is a novella-length work of crime fiction penned by author Kurtis Matthew Russell. Written for adults due to its explicit graphic nature, this story centers on our heroine of sorts, Cecilia, as she explores the world of drugs for her own indulgent ends. As she enters this world, however, the true darkness of it begins to show its face amongst the shadows, and soon she is embroiled in another culture entirely, with a whole cast of bizarre dark figures who live lives quite unlike the norm. The spiral grows deeper and deeper, leading to a more and more violent atmosphere.
The thing I enjoyed most about Kurtis Matthew Russell’s writing was the authority of the narrative voice in the central character. There are some fantastically descriptive lines which are truly unique – ‘pancake face’ sticks with me even now – and those lines not only serve to entertain but to give a real sense of who Cecilia is as a character and why we should root for her in the dark and strange world which she has entered. The characters were almost caricatures of the druggies and dealers we see from movies, except that their experiences were often so ordinary and so human that there was a strange mix of realism and fantasy going on. I loved the confusion that this novella causes and the speed of the spiral as ecstasy turns to pain and blood. Overall, Scum Encouraged will not be a read for everyone, but for fans of dark crime noir and graphic content, it is sure to please.