Read 7/2/15 - 7/5/15 4 Stars - Highly Recommended, some creepy stuff in these here pages Pages: 167 Publisher; Tortoise Books Released March 2015
I get lotRead 7/2/15 - 7/5/15 4 Stars - Highly Recommended, some creepy stuff in these here pages Pages: 167 Publisher; Tortoise Books Released March 2015
I get lots of friend requests on Goodreads. Lots. Mostly from weirdo friend-collectors with whom I have nothing in common, self published authors who are just looking to spam their newest releases in TNBBC, foreign dudes with creepy profiles, and underage users who attempt to bully me around by commenting on my status updates when I don't respond. So I'm not bragging when I say that.
But every once in a while, I'll get a request from an author who is genuinely reaching out to say hey in appreciation for what TNBBC stands for. While I'd like to say that I'm so tuned in to the small press community that I know about every cool new title that's releasing every second of every day of every week, well, I mean, c'mon. So it's really cool when an author stands up and introduces themselves to me like Darrin did.
Because I'm a curious person, I took a look at his books and was instantly drawn towards The Dark Will End the Dark. It promotes itself as 14 stunning and visceral stories, deftly mixing realism and fabulism, bleakness and hope, sparkling dialogue and unforgettable characters that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned. And bleak and stunning and lingering they were.
This collection of thematically-linked but stylistically unique stories is incredibly sad and tragic and strange. Darrin's obsession with body parts and gender fluidity adds an additional layer of connectivity throughout.
In the body stories, which are sprinkled all throughout the book - with titles like "Head", "Hand", "Face", "Neck", and "Sores" - Darrin plagues his characters with horrific, though seemingly painless, physical conditions. A man's head dies but his body remains functional; A young child's hand becomes infected and ultimately gives birth to a ghost; after staring at himself countless times in the bathroom mirror, a man's face rearranges itself one day....
These stories are particularly grotesque and unsettling because, while they are incredibly unlikely to happen to someone outside of Darrin's imaginary control, their nightmarish imagery haunts you long after.
You should know that the collection kicks off with "Tugboat to Traverse City" , by far my favorite of the bunch. It's a tale in which a captainless tugboat, engulfed in fog, slowly begins to lose its passengers as they jump overboard... all except for one strangely apathetic group of friends who are content to just sit and wait and do nothing.
There's also "The Hiccup King", a cutesy look at a man who's caught a case of the chronic hiccups, and what happens when he comes face to face with the Hiccup King. And "Barney Hester" was pretty cool. In this one, two BFF's go ga-ga over the girl next door until she unhinges her jaw and swallows one of them whole.
Darrin's mind is a dark and dangerous one. His characters never see what's coming and they never seem to catch a break. And as a reader, I'm totally ok with that. If you're a newbie to his work, you'll want to rectify that soon.
Dude can tell a story. And he knows how to author right....more
Read 6/25/15 - 7/1/15 1 Star - Not Recommended; it was a complete pile of dog doo Pages: 250 Publisher: Grindhouse Press Released: 2014
Ok. I took an entirRead 6/25/15 - 7/1/15 1 Star - Not Recommended; it was a complete pile of dog doo Pages: 250 Publisher: Grindhouse Press Released: 2014
Ok. I took an entire day and a whole bunch of deep breaths - calmly letting them in, and then letting them out - before I sat down to write this review. But it didn't help. I'm still pissed off. What a complete pile of dog doo! I'm serious. There was nothing redeeming here. No wonder I was able to download this for free on Amazon....!
Well, maybe I'm being a little too harsh. I did think the cover was pretty cool. (actually, almost all of the covers by Grindhouse Press are good looking.) And the jacket copy sounded interesting, hence the reason I downloaded it. But other than that... it was pretty much dog doo. I considered putting it down for good at least every other page. I really did. But I talked myself out of it each and every time because, although it was making no sense, I was dying to know what was going on. I figured I just needed some time to get into it... that it would all pull together in the end. God, if I could just go back and use that time to read something else....
Here's the rundown: A dude lives his life hearing insects. The insects speak to him in a frequency no one else can hear. And it seems all they can say to him is "Ashok burn right hand of men. To Neptune, rebirth in blue fire." Which means what, exactly? He sure as hell doesn't know. And after 250 pages, neither do we. Oh yeah, let me ruin the book for you... you never learn why Krang can hear the bugs, and you never learn the meaning behind the one and only thing they ever say to him. How you like them apples?!
Eventually, in his pursuit to understand why he can hear the insects, Krang discovers Urik, an underground organization of scientists who know of other "hearers" and who want to study him and learn how they, too, can hear the "constant hum". Krang escapes their evil clutches and ends up hiding out in a run-down Chicago apartment infested with, yup, you guessed it, lots and lots of bugs.
Here's where we meet the Crunk brothers - think Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum - who end up at his apartment building, posing as exterminators. They are actually in cahoots with this chick Della, who sells the dead insect carcasses they've poisoned to people who want to commit suicide in a trippy, painless fashion by ingesting the bug husks. (vomit). She calls it Jubilecide. But who cares. Krang catches her in his apartment, accidentally unlocks her ability to hear the hum, and parts of their bodies begin collapsing. Why? Because they've gained knowledge. Of what exactly? Who the fuck knows.
Krang feels like shit for infecting her with his "disease" - he's been collapsing for years - and talks her into driving them back to Urik to see if the scientists have found a way to cure the hearers from the constant hum.
Interjected all throughout the entire novel, author William Pauley III allows his characters to get all fucking philosophical about the end of humanity, and what if honeybees were to go extinct and other we-are-all-doomed bullshit, and rather than sounding all deep and scary, it really just sounded like the kind of bizarre horseshit that flies out of people's mouths when they are high as a kite or drunk as a skunk. It was eye-rollingly painful and did nothing to connect me further to the characters or the plot. It actually pushed me further away. It also didn't help that the Crunk brothers were virtually indistinguishable from one another. They talked the same, thought the same, and I swear to god, even Pauley got confused about who was doing the talking and thinking from time to time.
What may be the most bizarre thing, however, is how many stars this friggen book has amassed over at Goodreads. Far be it from me to knock anyone personally, but my spidey-sense is telling me that these reviews were made by Pauley's friends and family. There is no way in the world I am the only one who thinks this book was dog doo. No Way! I call foul. Something just don't smell right.
I am sure Pauley is a wonderful dude with a super over-active imagination. Hell, he has written a bunch of other books, which, would you look at that, they all got 4 and 5 stars too. I have no clue, maybe it's me? Maybe I don't know good fiction anymore when I read it? Maybe I'm just not reading on the same frequency he writes on? Maybe I haven't learned how to hear his particular hum yet? On the off chance I ever do, I'll come back here to apologize for calling this book a pile of dog doo.
And please don't think I judge Grindhouse Press for this bomb of a book. Or maybe I do. Just a little. Man, I hope this is not typical of what they release because I've had my eye on some of their other titles for awhile... ...more