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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  31 reviews
If Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers ever teamed up to make a film, Toxicity might be the end result.

Imagine the surreal universes penned by Philip K. Dick smashing into the gritty realities of Elmore Leonard, and you might have an idea of what type of book you’re about to get yourself into.

Toxicity is violent, repulsive, charming, and complet
Paperback, First Edition, 284 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Post Mortem Press (first published April 10th 2014)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  79 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Richard  Thomas
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
TOXICITY seeps under your skin, infecting you with black comedy, shocking violence, and the stinking desperation of bad people rotting in the sun. And yet somehow, we still root for these dark souls—and that is the genius of Max Booth III.
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that you start reading and instantly become absorbed in. I never felt that this was a story about horrible things happening to horrible people though. Maddox and Addison are just victims of their environment and the decisions they make are questionable but make perfect sense because they don't know any better.

Max has created characters that you actually grow to like due to how stupid they can be. These characters and Booth's writing style make this one of those rare
Eric Guignard
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
REVIEWED: Toxicity

Fire up the pink Cadillac and huff your latest dose of Purple, TOXICITY, is a wild, careening ride through a landscape of criminals, wild drugs, fantasy, and sweet hope. This is the inaugural novel by writer and editor, Max Booth III, who’s shown a deft hand in story creation through short fiction tales found over the past few years in magazines, anthologies, and collections. TOXICITY follows the intertwining
Dawn Napier
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Usually when I read a really off-the-wall story with a lot of crazy STUFF that happens, there are huge gaps in the actual storytelling. The action will be nonstop and the zingers zingy, but the writing itself suffers. The characters are transparent, or the dialogue is hacky and trite. The author spends too much time on the zaniness and action and either forgets about character and story or thinks that it doesn't matter.
That is SO not the case with Toxicity. I genuinely got attached to the
Tony Peak
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Max’s Toxicity will make you laugh, cringe, and think ‘WTF, did I just read that?’, even as you blaze through page after page because you’ll want to know what happens next. Set in modern, gritty Chicago, this story’s violence contrasts with a troupe of immediately likable characters you wish you knew. Not that you’d loan them money or leave them in your car with the keys in the ignition, but you’ll enjoy spending time with them in this zany novel.

First there’s Maddox, a former Cubs b
Benoit Lelièvre
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
If Belgian drug writer Henri Michaux would've decided to re-write Hamlet, it would've probably become something close to Max Booth III's TOXICITY, a domestic tragedy seen through the lens of a hip, new (and fortunately for us fictional) drug called Jericho. I think my favourite aspect of this novel was the absurd and random chapters of Jericho victim Johnny Desperation, which have actually something to do with the overarching storyline, but operate within its own logic.

TOXICITY can feel sometim
Sarah Read
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Max Booth III has a talent for creating a sinister bizarro world that feels just like home. Everything is just one shade north of normal in that way that makes you sure that somewhere, probably not far from you, these scenarios are playing out as nonfiction--and that's an uncomfortable feeling.
It's a story of high stakes and low morals. If you like your social dread and hopelessness served with a side of humor, then you should definitely read this.
Craig Wallwork
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Misfits, mayhem and Zooey Deschanel. Max Booth III's foray into the underbelly of life is like being sucker-punched by Tarantino. He offers a world where Desperation is is more than a state of despair, Jesus is a housefly determined to begin an apocalypse, and greed is a skewer that pierces the heart of the dammed.
Josef Hernandez
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Violent yet human, Toxicity is a strong story for those who are not easily offended.

For a full review, please go to and follow me on Twitter @josenher
Araminta Matthews
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
When Max Booth III asked me if I’d review Toxicity, I was very excited. I’ve been following Max’s career since he was writing short stories as a teenager. The first time we met at World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, I remember telling him “I think you’re brilliant,” a phrase I have used maybe three times in my life to describe living authors. I solicited a collaborative writing project from him right then and there, and though we’re slow going, I do still plan to write something amazing w ...more
Sean Leonard
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
With his newest release, Toxicity, Max Booth III has taken a break from the wild western zombies of Black as well as the flash fiction of They Might Be Demons and thrown us into the complex, nasty world of the suburbs of Chicago. Having grown up there, I can vouch for this; they are truly frightening, indeed.

The world he shows us is one full of trashy scumbags and bad criminals, down on their luck losers and high school kids who are just as high as they are rich. He drives us smack d
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
First off, let me say that I received this book free through the Goodreads Giveaway event. The author was quick on sending the book off, included his signature, a special personal message, an 8pg song list made especially to be played for every chapter. All very appreciated.

I suppose some can say that drugs saves lives and also that it takes them; but what if a certain drug can do both? Jean d'Arc spoke with God; did that help or hinder her cause? What about God's cause? How would WE
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This story is nothing if not a wild ride, but more than that, it's a wild ride whose trajectory goes directly along the edge... from beginning to end... with maybe a couple slips OVER the edge.

It's one of those great tales that weaves together a bunch of people's lives until they all lead up to this tremendous, climactic, explosive ending, with plenty of things along the way that you don't see coming until they smack you in the face, or stab you in the eye. It's mostly the story of M
Brian Steele
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bizarre-fiction, noir
The idea of “madcap noir” might be hard to wrap your head around, but that best describes what you’re in for inside this book. Deeply flawed characters engaged in ridiculous antics that often result in an ongoing series of bizarre events, usually accompanied by intense amounts of violence. And mind-shattering insanity. Don’t forget the reality-warping drugs.

The story itself bounces back around between a number of characters all living in the vicinity of Loathing, Illinois. From Maddo
Kit Power
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Toxiciy is Dark. Toxicity is twisted. At times, Toxicity is hilarious, without ever failing to be dark and twisted.

Toxicity is part jet black shaggy-dog story, part 'True Romance'-style dark love tale, part diary of hallucinogenic psychosis. It's not quite full Gonzo, but the ghost of Dr. Thompson definitely lurks at the edges of the page from time to time.

Toxicity has a lot going on.

As the title suggests, it's a cocktail that invites unease, if not nausea. The elements
Tommy Smith
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was previously described to me as a dark comedy. I’m not sure whether that is 100% accurate, though there is certainly dark humor in its pages, and the book may not be easy to classify otherwise.

The story follows the characters of Maddox Kane, a man recently released from prison; his daughter Addison, who has a difficult life at home to say the very least; and Johnny Desperation, a young man who falls into a series of curious occurrences that include the lottery and a fly.
Jeremiah Israel
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome for a lot of reasons but what sold me completely was the wrap up at the end. It's hard to trust an author you haven't read before. The characters were so vivid and likeable, or despicable, that I was going to be pissed if they weren't there for a reason. I wasn't let down. Every character matters, every step in the plot feels natural, even if absurd, and all around the book's tone kind of messes with you. It was disgusting, light-hearted, bothering, funny, disturbing and aw ...more
David Bridges
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Toxicity is a non stop black comedy that literally had me laughing out loud at some points. I'm not talking about text LOL, I mean chucking to myself in public like an insane person. It's not all yuks though, there are plenty of uncomfortable moments and even some thought provoking social satire. If you enjoy early Palahnuik, John Dies At The End, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels then you will enjoy Toxicity. That's not to say that Booth doesn't have his own style here, because he definitel ...more
Glenn Rolfe
Apr 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Max Booth's Toxicity. I think Quentin Tarantino's writing has seriously messed up a generation of creative people. We have become a bunch of twisted freaks who now find humor in the most dark and bizarre situations. I have no doubt that Max's character's would make Mr. Tarantino smile. For me, personally, I prefer my horror to be more conventional. I don't mind an excursion into something different, but with Toxicity, Max rolls off the grid and I think he has the time of his life doing so. There ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Do you miss the wild roller coaster ride of "John Dies at the End"? Do you miss the never ending "it certainly couldn't get any worse" of "Breaking Bad"? Well, here is your cure. Max Booth III puts you in the coaster car with a brick on the controls. Then he slaps you every time you try and slow it down. He presents you with a set of circumstances and then forces you to sit helplessly while the entire universe careens wildly out of control. You never dislike any of these characters. Instead, you ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Man, this is messed up. Just, like...damn.

I'm not usually one for the downward spiral stories - you know, the ones that start in a bad place and then just get progressively worse until pretty much everyone's dead? Always star Andy Garcia? Yeah, they're really not my jam. But what Booth does here is he takes that genre and just vomits all over it. Yeah, there's the over-arching crime plot. But there's also a severely trippy drug epidemic subplot, one of the most awful (and yet endeari
John Ratcliff
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
NetGalley review 03-11-16:
"Toxicity" is a raging comic inferno, delivered as a pitch-black, bizarre novel. For every laugh here, there's a haunting, reverberating scream somewhere in the darkness. There are gloriously otherworldly remarks and fantastically lurid images on every page. I couldn't help but chuckle, constantly at even the most atrocious, gruesome, and disturbing situations the characters got themselves into.
This was my second novel by MB III, and I've come to strongly believe
Steve Isaak
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Toxicity is an addictive, tightly penned Quentin-Tarantino-film-crossed-with-chemical-eff'd-upness read: violent, quirky, darkly hilarious, icky and character-driven, a work that is often terrible in its scenarios and simultaneously hilarious, with a few characters who - despite their failings and shadiness - are worth rooting for.

This is a great novel, if you're not easily squicked out - one worth owning.

(This review originally appeared on the Reading & Writing By Pub Light site.)
Susan Dorsey
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Toxicity proves Max Booth III can write the hell out of a fast-paced dark comedy, but what really blew me away was his ability to create characters. You won’t believe the people you meet in this novel, and you certainly won’t believe the ones you end up rooting for. Pick up Toxicity and check it out for yourself. You won’t be able to put it down.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gritty, surprising, and well paced. Maddox is a great character, one I'd play in an RPG.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
The author asked me to read and review an Advance Reader Copy of this book. The ARC e-book had some typoes, homophones, and misused words such as pass instead of past but I could overlook them to read the story and when published, I'm sure these imperfections will be corrected.

- - - -

I'm 25% through, getting ready to start chapter 10.

So far we have been introduced to newly released ex-con, Maddox Kane who had a short career in major league baseball until he was caught as a cocaine
Tim Potter
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, crime
This novel is simply crazy. Actually, it's not simple at all. There are elements of crime fiction, horror and bizarro. There's also a gritty realism, coming-of-age story and interpersonal relationships that hinted at, I found myself surprised to be thinking, early Richard Price. Which is one way of saying that this novel that, from jump, seems to put four-to-the-floor and say forget about it, also has some real literary chops. Not an easy thing to pull off.

The story involves an ex-co
I honestly have to say I got a little lost and didn't understand the conclusion... I get that drugs and money can be toxic..
I was hoping for some of the weirdness of Quentin As advertised but the book just seemed loony without any sense.
Here is what I got: a group of 4 poor friends hang out on the playground, one of them wins the lottery and ditches the group. This boy starts to drink "purple" spray (looks like a can of axe you spray down throat), which makes him hallucinate. It turn
Bree Hodges
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A great, fun, and fast read!
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc, kindle
I received this arc from Netgalley.

This is one crazy, hilarious book. And I enjoyed every bit of it. A quick read that definitely entertains. I will be looking for other books by this author.
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Max Booth III is the author of four novels. His mom has read at least one of them. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and an ongoing columnist at He works as a hotel night auditor in a small town outside San Antonio, TX. Follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth and visit him at
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