Happy 11th Birthday Shadow!
A book of three novellas and one short story.
'Of Badgers & Porn Dwarves'
Rummy is a once famous dwarf porn actor, he has now hit almost rock bottom and is in big to the local bookie. To get his slate wiped clean he must use his 'sizeable' assets to help said bookie and hired muscle, con an ageing pederast. Further complications are a car crash, killer badger, rednecks and their morbidly obese mother.
'Jesus in a dogs ass'
Hank is laid off and buys a video camera with his redundancy money, he thinks he will manage to entice his uptight wife into making home made porn and earn a fortune. To try out the camera he videos his wife's dog pooping, his wife sees the video and claims that the dog has the image of Jesus in the fur round his anus. Now everyone wants to see the dog and Hank's savvy wife is making sure they are paying for the privilege. Add into the mix two incredibly inept criminals, dog napping and super strength laxatives.
'Frank, The Snake & The Snake'
Frank used to work for 'The Snake' a vicious mob boss who was responsible for his criminal gangs demise. Frank gave evidence putting 'The Snake' away but has been looking over his shoulder ever since. He thinks he's been found out by a young man, Stevie, who takes an interest in him and ends up being blackmailed into going with him on a job. Stevie hasn't been honest with Frank about why he wants him to go with along but all becomes clear when they arrive at their destination.
'The Mad Butcher of Plainfields Chariot of Death'
A short story about Ed Geins car, bought by Bunny Gibbons and used as a carnival attraction. No one is coming to his ghoulish attraction, Bunny believes it's because he went against his mother's wishes on spending his inheritance and that the car in cursed. Depressed about the failure of his attraction, Bunny is relieved when it looks like his fortunes have turned but all is not what it seems.
Overall I enjoyed all the stories but the first two were definitely my favourites. The first story had me cackling with laughter, this story was all kinds of wrong but oh so right. The characters were all well done and the dialogue was witty and sharp.
The third story was probably my least favourite, I think the pacing was different from the first two stories, there was something sad about the life that Frank had lived.
The last story was just straight up horror and reminded me of 'Tales from the crypt'.
Highly recommended collection, especially for those that like their humour pitch black.
Read by candlelight or flashlight: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K Rowling
Witches: Witch Island - David Bernstein
Black Cat: Black Cat Mojo - Adam Howe
Diverse Authors can be Spooky Fun: Poisoning Eros - Wrath James White
Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses:
Young Adult Horror: Murder of Crows - Anne Bishop
Scary Women (Authors):
Reads with (Booklikes) Friends:
Grave or Graveyard: Graveyard Blues - Reina Salt
Genre: Mystery: Disclaimer - Renee Knight
Free Square: Gilded Needles - Michael McDowell
'Fall' into a good book: Falling Angel - William Hjortsberg
Locked Room Mystery:
It was a dark and stormy night: The Rain Dancers - Greg F. Gifune
Set in New England:
Vampires vs. Werewolves: Written in Red - Anne Bishop
Classic Horror: The Monkey's Paw - W.W. Jacobs
Set on Halloween:
Pluto---this was the cat's name---was my favorite pet and playmate.
With this in my collection, I felt obligated to read it for Bingo :)
This short story is a doozie for animal lovers, especially cat ones. Our leader through this madness states he has an "illness". As you read along, it seems to be a mixture of self-loathing and depression with alcoholism the symptom and pushing the progression of his deterioration.
I didn't know what to expect and was firmly along with the guy at this quote:
To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and salacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable.
Love my doggies. Things, uh, quickly went off the rails though...
I took from my waistcoat pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!
Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such?
No dude, healthy, in body and mind, people generally do not strongly feel this way. Or if they do, they sign up for boxing classes or eat cookie dough.
I was not expecting the ending and kind of had a "Well, that escalated quickly." moment.
Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than egomaniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain.
His alcoholism is not strongly thrust to the forefront but it is weaved in to remind and give the reader an easier out for him. What I found the most compelling about this story and why I love reading Poe is directly related to this snippet quote:
---hung it because I knew that it loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offense;
There's a lot to unpack there. It portrays a man struggling with self-hatred, not feeling worthy of love, and striking out violently because he doesn't know how to process his feelings any other way (again, probably aggravated by the inclusion of alcohol). This story is hard to read because of the animal cruelty but it's a great discussion on why and how humans punish themselves.
For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief.
- First sentence
The first time I read an Edgar Allan Poe story, I was a teenager. I haven't read all of his works, but I did read The Telltale Heart, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, and probably others that I don't remember. I enjoyed Poe's stories, but I haven't read anything by him in a while.
I chose to read The Black Cat for the Black Cat Square in Halloween Bingo.
I did not enjoy this story. Yes, Poe was a masterful storyteller and he was original and creepy. But, this one did not scare me at all. I hated reading about how the narrator treated the cat who adored him. I wanted him to suffer for what he did. I wasn't surprised by the ending, perhaps because I did read this story in my teenage years.
There is one thing that did surprise me (although I guess it shouldn't have, given the man's character and that this is a Poe story)...
(sorry about the spoiler. I couldn't get it to work properly and my preview wasn't working. I finally just took it out. Hope I didn't spoil the book for anyone...)
Bottom line, this story disturbed me (and maybe that is part of what horror stories are supposed to do). I prefer my horror stories to not involve animal abuse.
Avoid if you are sensitive to animal cruelty.