Cover for The Pledge by Cale Dietrich

Korey B’s Review:

The Pledge

Categories: Arts | Books | Queer Arts | Reviews


Cale Dietrich’s The Pledge is a fun, gay-themed diversion from the typical slasher story.

The quick read opens on gay high school student Sam, who survives an unimaginable horror by becoming something unimaginable: a killer. Two years later, he takes a step toward healing by going to college and joining a fraternity with the encouragement of his gay father. There Sam meets Oren, a gay RA, and potential love interest. Unfortunately, trouble follows Sam in the form of another murderer, who begins killing off students at Sam’s school. As the body count goes up, Sam and Oren work to find the identity of the masked killer.

Varied pacing keeps the story from becoming a full-fledged thriller, which is light on gore for a slasher. But some variety in the many murder scenes kept them from becoming dull. Dietrich breathed new life into the setting’s focus on college and, especially, greek life with the inclusion of openly gay characters. But the expansive cast was sometimes hard to recall or distinguish from one another. Sam and Oren have some sweet moments, making their gayness integral to the narrative. But the book lacks the diverse representation to truly call it queer.

This book contains mentions of anxiety and PTSD and moderately graphic descriptions of murder, injury, and death.