Book Review: Badger

by C.M. McKenna

C.M. McKenna’s compelling voice has earned a devoted audience and multiple awards for her erotic fiction (as Cara McKenna.) Her page-turning literary debut, Badger, disturbs and titillates with the story of a recovering pill addict whose compulsive fascination with a Boston antihero spirals out of control.

Nearly twelve months sober, Adrian Birch feels like a nobody. But when her wrist is broken in a hit-and-run accident, she’s avenged by the Badger, a secretive street vigilante. Instantly obsessed, Adrian takes to staging suicide and constructing chance meetings to get his attention. Their resulting affair is harsh and needy, wrought with McKenna’s signature dark eroticism—until the connection gets out of hand and ignites the violent passions of the city.

Hailed for her “evocative,” “intense,” “deftly drawn,” and “engrossing” stories by reviewers at Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Jezebel, McKenna now establishes herself as a rising star in neo-noir. Badger challenges the reader to imagine how an impulsive young man is killed, offering only the perspective of the fascinating and unreliable Adrian Birch.

My thoughts: I have been in a bit of a reading slump as of late. Everything I pick up is worn out, tired, and the same ol same ol. I can't decide if I want to read contemporary, romance, fantasy, YA or NA. I've been jumping around, back and forth, and it's been very disappointing. Nothing can hold my attention for more than about 40% and I find myself skimming to the end or ditching the book all-together. I broke that slump with the first book of the year (for me). Badger was released in August 2015, and frankly, I'm shocked that it hasn't received more "air-play" than it has. In fact, the only reason I learned about it at all was from reading blog posts from several people who chose Badger as it favorite read in 2015. When I saw it on one list, I thought, okay. When I started seeing it on blog after blog, I sat up and took notice.

Badger is so completely different from anything I've read in a long, long time. It isn't pretty at times. In fact, it's downright unimaginable and horrifying. But it sucked me in from the beginning and didn't let go. Skimming pages did not happen with this book. I didn't want to miss a thing. Adrian is a very real character. Sadly, so is Isaac. The people are real. The situations are honest. No perfect people. No perfect world. CM McKenna's writing is flawless and I didn't find myself self-editing at all. (That right there is BIG). This book was a very solid 5 star read for me and I highly recommend you read it - if you're not afraid of a little reality.

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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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