Monday, June 29, 2015

Turning Face

     Turning Face - Terry M. West 4/5


        I received a copy of Turning Face in exchange for an honest review and to be perfectly honest I'm a fan of West's and have been since Heroin In The Magic Now. What I like about West is that he's always evolving and no matter what I've read I've never been disappointed. West writes fiction that mixes in pieces of horror, bizarro, and sometimes a bit of gore when the story calls for it. When you read a West novella you know that you're in for a good solid read. From Heroin to the Car-Nex series these are all solid novellas. West has a distinctive style that keeps you reading and you form bonds with the characters that he creates. These are stories that move quickly and demand your full attention.

      As a horror and wrestling fan I have to admit that I was nervous. Usually books like these fail because the author is trying to hard to please everyone. With Turning Face even the most jaded wrestling fan will find something to like here. While the story itself is well plotted it's easy to tell by the title what's about to happen, but it's not as predictable as you might think. West did his research here and the wrestling aspects are dead on. Tojo is a convincing villain that also happens to be a demon. His job is to instill hate but what happens when the fans start to cheer him? That is where the novel turns interesting. Tojo may be a demon but you can't help but like the guy, When you think of demons and hell you never imagine that it would be a heel in an indie promotion in Texas. If you watch enough pro-wrestling it sounds plausible. The heels job is to generate heat and make the fans hate you. You can see that Tojo's job as a heel would be easy, but then we see a shift and the fans that booed him are now cheering for him.

       West knows his stuff and the research he did on the wrestling aspect is top notch. The story itself would feel right at home with a variety of B-movie classics. That's not a dig at all. I love a good B-movie that delivers not just a touch of horror, but quite a bit of comedy. Fans of West and even horror comedy are going to enjoy this because while the subject matter may not be for everyone the story itself flows well and at 96 pages it doesn't feel as if it's rushed or missing something vital. West moves the story along and keeps you interested. As a fan of West it's another addition to an already growing collection. It's a novella that shows a writer evolving and branching out into newer territory and it works.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

With Tooth And Claw Review

           With Tooth And Claw - Jim Goforth 5/5


      Plebs was one of the best horror novels of 2014. It was an old school splatterpunk novel that turned the dial up to eleven and ripped your face clean off. How in the hell do you top that? It seems as if Goforth is everywhere these days and as we wait for his latest full length novel we have With Tooth And Claw to tide us over. This is a collection of six short stories and a novella that proves that Plebs wasn't a fluke. Horror it seems has lost it's edge and while some horror writers will use gore and violence as a character, Goforth makes it a part of the plot. These six tales are dark and build a nice link to the foundation that he had successfully built with his debut novel. For fans of Plebs Goforth adheres to the motto of; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." He is a solid writer that proves that you can craft a horror tale without an overabundant amount of gore. There is a bit of gore and sex here but it isn't there just for the sake of gore and sex.

     The problem with a lot of these collections is the amount of filler these present and given its length that isn't a problem. Each story is well crafted and serves as a reminder that when done right, horror is a genre that you can become addicted too. The Laymon influence is front and center and as I read Astraal's Hands I thought for a second that I was reading a lost Laymon story.That's not a bad thing, and  there's enough originality in it so that you can easily see Gorth's own style mixing into it to create something that is not only disturbing, but a piece that pulls you in no matter how horrifying it becomes. There's no filler here. This is a horror writer with his feet planted in the past while surging forward to give horror a shot in the arm it desperately needs

     With Teeth And Claw takes the splatterpunk genre and moves it forward. We know what to expect and Goforth delivers. This is a writer who will break out in a major way, and if you haven't read Plebs yet you should, With Tooth And Claw is a great place to start and these stories are not only a testament to how great horror can be but it shows us that he's a writer who is hitting his stride. Short story collections are usually hit or miss but this fires on all cylinders and keeps you on your toes throughout out the entire book. Splatterpunk may not be a well known genre, but I have a feeling it will be,



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Clown Fellas

 Clown Fellas - Carlton Mellick III  3/5


    I received the latest CMII novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

     I've just finished an advanced copy of the latest CMIII novel and I have to admit I'm still not sure what to write. I've been a fan of bizarro for almost five years and I often wondered what would happen if mainstream publishers decided finally start releasing bizarro titles. We now have the answer. Carlton's latest release is being published by the Random House imprint Hydra, and I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand this Carlton Mellick III. The guy's an underground legend and I delved into this with the idea that it would be an instant classic. Problem is this doesn't feel like a Mellick book. This is being touted as Urban Fantasy and yeah, I guess it fits, but this is the guy who gave us surreal classics like The Haunted Vagina, and the Menstruating Mall. I was expecting the usual surreal Mellick that writes these bizarro fantasies that often mess with your head.

     Clown Fellas is a new direction and a new style that some will love, and others will keep checking the cover just to make sure it's who the cover says it is. These are six novellas that center around the Bozo family who are clowns and also in the mafia. This is exactly why Mellick is a legend and while some elements of his style seem watered down the story telling is top notch, This is a writer trying to branch out and try something different, but I kept waiting for the old Mellick to emerge, but he just doesn't. If you have a fear of clowns this is certainly a book to avoid. These aren't your typical clowns and each novella shows a different side of the Bozo family.

     I found that each novella was well written, and if anyone deserves mainstream success it's Mellick.  Clown Fellas is an interesting take on the mafia genre. If anyone was going to create a clown mafia it would be this guy. This may be a newer style for Mellick but it's an easy read that you quickly become absorbed in. I did have mixed feelings about this one and still do but as I look at each novella I can see that Mellick's style in Clown Fellas really fits what this book is about. Is it violent? Of course but you expect that from a book like this and while I hate the idea that mainstream publishers have finally discovered bizarro fiction I wonder how safe and watered down it'll become.

     While it may not be my favorite Mellick book it is an interesting 3 star read. I didn't exactly hate it but I didn't love it either. The idea is solid but in the end it just seemed to run out of steam. This will be officially released on July 14 and you can pre-order this now but so far it's a Kindle only release.*lkiwnd8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780804179355&isbn=9780804179355&r=1