Monday, September 30, 2013

Clown Tear Junkies by Douglas Hackle

I listened to the never-to-be-produced audiobook version of Clown Tear Junkies (the one read by Smokey Robinson) and I must say it was excellent. These stories have something to satisfy everyone in your family. There are many, many huge cocks and bodies being smashed to a bloody pulp, copious amounts of semen and chyme, gay ice road truckers and polyhedral dice, blank pages, and pages filled with random letters, numbers and symbols. There’s even a story that features an elderly man being pulled down the street in a little red wagon!

Readers who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the works of Deepak Chopra need to read this collection right away.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Hides Within by Jason Parent

What Hides Within is a solid debut horror novel built on a mystery/suspense engine. The author manages to combine serial bomber, child murderer, and supernatural plotlines effectively. There were a few times where I thought the characters made odd choices that seemed to only serve the plot instead of doing what you’d think any average Joe would do in the given situation. Well, as it turned out, (in almost all instances, I’d say), these “bugs” in the narrative turned out to be “features” later on. The novel starts out with a fair dose of humor mixed in with the darkness. Some bits fell flat, but others made me laugh out loud. (The effectiveness of humor in fiction is largely subjective. So don’t let this deter you from picking this up.) But as the narrative progresses, things get increasingly darker and more tense until the pages really start flying by. I had several theories as to “what’s really going on” and I’m happy to say that all of them were wrong. There are so many things that I’d really like to cite as reasons why I thought this novel was so successful but can’t because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might pick this up. I’ll just say that the ending is of a sort that you don’t see very often in full-length works of horror fiction.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian

This is a literary novel with science fictional, fantastical, and horrific elements. It’s a novel with overt religious themes that’s filled with black humor, curse words, sexual situations, bleakness, and just a sprinkle of hope. It is dark and funny. The writing is top notch. Some characters are chillingly true-to-life while others are wonderfully over-the-top. The author creates a true microcosm of the world in his children’s hospital afloat on God’s second great flood. He’s smashed a little bit of everything inside and let everything loose to wreak havoc. Is it a bit much? A bit overlong? Perhaps. But the more I think on it, I can’t think of anything that I’d cut. I liked every scene, and especially those featuring Jemma’s big brother, the young psychopath who wants to be undone. This character is so well drawn that his chapters alone are worth the read. Folks seem to be evenly divided on this work. I’m on the side that thinks this is one hell of a literary accomplishment.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Flesh Gothic by Edward Lee

Did this book live up to my expectations? Yes. I went in expecting a schlocky, over-the-top, gory B-movie experience in book form and that’s exactly what I got. The story moved along quickly. It was filled with raunch and blood and silly occult happenings. The one thing that struck me as quite unbelievable (from a character perspective) was the female psychics/mediums shrugging off sexual assaults by otherworldly entities as merely routine workplace hazards and no big deal. I think most folks would get into another line of work after the first spectral gang rape.

Meat Suitcase by Wol-vriey

You will battle a horde of horse people who stand on their hind legs and wear the faces of your dead family members. You will lose your legs to a flesh-eating weapon in a never-ending war with these creatures and will find yourself frantically sodomizing the remains of a corpse on the battlefield before your genitals too can disappear. You will engage in completely heterosexual sex with a woman who is also a giant penis--and you will love it! You will fight meatdogs and a giant floating pumpkin head. You will kill thousands because it’s your duty as a Deadline soldier.

If you've not already guessed, this story is told in 2nd person and it’s absolutely insane. You've been cast as the hero in this messed up war against godless monsters and monsters who've rebelled against their gods. If you don’t want to be the hero in a story that contains all of the above-mentioned nuttiness, then you might want to give Meat Suitcase a pass.

Did I like it? Yeah. I’m pretty sure I did.