Over the last couple years, I’ve seen Max Booth III’s name floating around the writing community and I’ve been meaning to check out one of his novelsOver the last couple years, I’ve seen Max Booth III’s name floating around the writing community and I’ve been meaning to check out one of his novels especially after reading his excellent short story Fish.
I chose his second novel The Mind is a Razor Blade simply cause the cover was badass (covers are mad important) and the book was praised by the likes of Adam Cesare and Jonathan Mayberry so it had to be worth a read.
A man wakes up in the pouring rain with a couple dead corpses and a helluva memory loss. He struggles to recollect his identity and find some solid footing in a world that has gone to shit. He discovers a cult that harvests organs for a demon known as Conundrae who has the entire city shaking in fear.
The protagonist finds out he has done some terrible things in his past and attempts to piece together his fragile memory without killing too many people.
This first novel could’ve easily become a hot mess in a lesser writer’s hands and I give Booth kudos for attempting this and coming out successful. The first person point of view allows the reader to crawl deeper into the protagonist’s frazzled psyche and try to put it all together.
There are portions of the book where certain people or events trigger pivotal flashbacks. These sections are written in a disjointed sort of prose that works pretty well and gives the reader a break from the main narrative.
It’s hard to go too deep into the book’s plot, but rest assured this is well worth your time. There’s plenty of weird elements such as the spiders, but I won’t go into that. Another point that should be touched on is the humor. Even thought there are some heavy moments in this novel, Booth knows how to lighten the mood. For example, the protagonist is forced to run around in bunny slippers.
Sidenote: good characterization. I didn’t realize how much I cared about the main characters until the last couple chapters. They had me super stressed out.
The Mind is a Razor Blade is a tense, hella dark noir that will keep you on your toes and looking out for spiders well after the last page....more
Hard Bodies is Justin Grimbol’s latest book and my second encounter with his fiction. I read his New Bizarro Author series debut Crud Masters during mHard Bodies is Justin Grimbol’s latest book and my second encounter with his fiction. I read his New Bizarro Author series debut Crud Masters during my second deployment and it was pretty damn good.
I came into this expecting some weirdness, but this isn’t really bizarro at all. I’m actually hesitant to slap any label on this. It’s about a married couple who truly love one another, but we follow them as they basically live life.
The deceptively simple prose was right up my alley and I never found myself bored. I sped through the book, smiling at how much heart was splashed on the pages.
Grimbol knows how to write smooth dialogue and uses cool words such as “cray” and “wifey.” Bonus points for that.
I think what makes Hard Bodies such a great read is the emotional resonance of the narrative. The characters feel like old friends and I’m sure Grimbol mixed in some moments from his personal life which made the book that much more authentic and relatable.
Seriously, you guys need to give this a read. Besides sporting a beautiful used dollar bin type of cover designed by Matthew Revert, Grimbol’s Hard Bodies is a magical book full of heart and sure to make you thankful for being alive and ish....more
This is my introduction to Craig Wallwork's fiction and honestly the beautiful cover along with praise from Gabino Iglesias, Richard Thomas, and otherThis is my introduction to Craig Wallwork's fiction and honestly the beautiful cover along with praise from Gabino Iglesias, Richard Thomas, and others compelled me purchase this a few weeks ago.
Gory Hole is comprised of three short stories: Revenge of the Zombie Pussy Eaters, Human Tenderloin, and Sicko. The first story involves a group of guys who take a trip down to the gay bars to see if they can pick up some girls, but all they find are lesbians and zombies. It's a fun, nasty tale that had me laughing and staring in awe at some of Wallwork's descriptions.
The second story "Human Tenderloin" revolves around a group of cannibals who frequently meet up for exquisitely prepared feasts. Things take a turn for the worst, but the dark comedy keeps the story from getting too gruesome.
The final story "Sicko" is the longest and probably my favorite out of the trio. It's about a group of guys who get lost in the woods, but decide to spend the night at this fishy lodge. Wallwork pumps up the tension and just when you think you know what's about to go down, he hits you with a plot twist that knocks you off your feet. Seriously though, I was impressed by the suspense, little surprises, and natural flow of dialogue.
After finishing the book in one sitting, I sat there staring out the window wanting more. Gory Hole is a fun, gory collection of fiction from a guy who knows how to spin a helluva yarn. Wallwork is great at balancing black humor with over-the-top violence and smart prose. I could easily see someone like Sam Raimi turning Sicko into a great popcorn flick. ...more
Day of the Milkman is S.T. Cartledge‘s second book release and my first proper introduction to his writing and I’ve been missing out.
The story takes pDay of the Milkman is S.T. Cartledge‘s second book release and my first proper introduction to his writing and I’ve been missing out.
The story takes place in a strange world dominated by the milk industry, and HiLo, the main character, is the last milkman left and quite possibly the only person alive on the face of the earth. We find him stranded in the Great White Sea and the only company he has is his feminine artificial intelligence accessory known as Calcitine.
I’m sure comparisons can be made to Castaway, but HiLo stumbles on something much more startling when he gets back to land: ghosts of his past, molemen, and spoiled milk.
Also, the term literary kinda makes me sick, but I would push this book into the upper end of the thinking man’s bizarro spectrum. This entertains as well as provokes thoughts about the isolation and spending one’s life to the fullest before the inevitable end.
Day of the Milkman published by Bizarro Pulp Press is a successful sophomore effort from Cartledge. It’s melancholy, lyrical and moody. The only reason you shouldn’t give this a shot is if you’re lactose and tolerant, but even then you should take the plunge....more