Despite having only a short novel and a handful of short stories to her name to date, Lee Franklin has produced an accomplished tale of bloodshed and reprisals in her new extreme horror short, Nang Tani.
Shane is spending his twenty-first birthday in Thailand, with his best mate Paul. There to fight in a kickboxing tournament, he has been quickly and humiliatingly beaten in the first round and is taking his anger out on the locals. When he decides to get a tattoo of a beautiful woman on his forearm, he is warned that the tattoo is actually of Nang Tani, a vengeful local deity who protects women from harm.
When he doesn’t heed the warnings and gets the tattoo, Shane soon finds himself being haunted by strange and violent visions. He is punished in increasingly violent ways by Nang Tani and he begins to realize that the price he has to pay for his sins may be more than he can afford.
While Shane and Paul are both fairly one-dimensional characters of the bigoted and sexist alpha male variety, Franklin is able to make them both come across as suitably despicable and their comeuppance, as horrible as it is, feels thoroughly deserved. It makes for a gleefully fun reading experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The story ultimately benefits from the underdeveloped characters and familiar set-up, because it allows the books titular supernatural goddess to really shine, and she absolutely steals the show. I’d love to read more stories featuring Nang Tani. It also means that you will go into the story with set expectations what will happen and how things will end, and Franklin takes obvious delight in taking things far further than you would expect. Things get very bad for Shane and Paul very fast, and it only gets worse, up until the grand finale, which is equal parts clever, satisfying, and mind-numbingly horrifying.
A fair warning for the faint of heart, this is an extreme horror story and the violence, of which there is a great deal, is as grim as you would expect. It avoids the silly excess that the genre can often resort to, opting instead for a more grounded take, which makes the story a tough read in parts. As many horror books as I have read, Nang Tani had even me wincing more than once reading some of the inventive unpleasantness in store for some of these characters.
Nang Tani is a fun short story with a fantastic antagonist and lashings of gore. While it isn’t breaking new ground, it takes well-known tropes and uses them to tell an exceptionally well written and unforgettable story. I can’t wait to see what Lee Franklin has in store for us next.
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Nang Tani by Lee Franklin
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When Nang Tani is unleashed, she comes with vengeance. Shane will learn that sins, like tattoos, cannot be washed away; not even with blood.
DescriptionA novelette by Lee Franklin. Celebrating his twenty-first birthday in Thailand with his best mate Paul, Shane finds the perfect tattoo of a local deity, Nang Tani. He must have her at all costs. When Nang Tani is unleashed, she comes with vengeance. Shane will learn that sins, like tattoos, cannot be washed away; not even with blood.