Saturday, October 16, 2010

Upping The Ante On Nasty (a review of DRACULAS)

In the beginning, Joe wrote these words (among others)
"…And it's going to freak you out.
If you're easily disturbed, have a weak stomach, or are prone to nightmares, stop reading right now. There are no sexy teen heartthrobs herein.
You have been warned…."
I do have a weak stomach, I am prone to nightmares, and I don't enjoy fainting. But I also have a strong contrarian streak, so when Joe Konrath warns me that I'm probably not going to want to look at his collaborative effort with Jeff Stand, Blake Crouch, and F. Paul Wilson, curiosity will impel me to look.

But, I started cautiously at the back. Worth the entire $2.99 by themselves are the bonus stories, one of which begins with the awesome line, " The hardest thing about killing a hitchhiker is finding one to pick up."

"DRACULAS"is worth its weight in gold for the bonus material alone.

Curiosity, killed cats, and other red herrings aside there's another reason to devour every bit of this exceptionally well-written, highly entertaining and disturbing book. Joe Konrath hangs ten on the crest of the most powerful waves and this book could be the way authors write faster, add extra value and thrive.

Here's how. Four first rate spec fic and occasionally hilarious authors put their heads together to horrific effect. Each chose their own hero/victim/evil-doer from a cast of characters, and each dashed off a parallel novella of approximately 20,000 words, then they sliced and diced and cobbled each author's bits together into the literary equivalent of a Frankenstein's monster. Only, it's Freddy on steroids. It gives a whole new dimension to sucking face, and not a nice one.

The dedication --"For Bram Stoker, with deepest apologies"-- is a perfect foretaste of what to expect from "DRACULAS". Irreverence. Dark humor that is so wry, it's twisted. Offensive stuff, and indeed there is a scene involving bowels and a clown who likes to make rather different balloon animals…. Lots of "wet work", and they maybe ought to have offered apologies of some depth to Clint Eastwood, too!

The prologue (not that they call it that) contains the mother of all hooks. Erroneously, I imagined the conversation those 4 bad boys of grim might have had, before I looked at Joe's generous back matter, and learned how it really was.

"Let's dig up a head."
"Let's make it really old…"
"And evil. It must be evil."
"Let's attach something nasty to it. What?"
"A curse."
"Wicked teeth."
"Maybe we make those teeth like… like Sleeping Beauty's spindle."
"Dracula's deadly prick…"
"We need sex…"
"You can't have sex with a severed head…"
"Oh, yes you can!"
"Look, we'll call the person who gets hold of the head More Cock."
"And we'll give him an incurable disease."
The foregoing is my imagination. This conversation did not happen… but the gentle reader should remember that Joe Konrath aka Jack Kilborn once wrote a Christmas story about an amnesiac werewolf who discovered that his midnight snacking habit was abnormal after he noticed buttons and coins in his poop.

Yes, there is poop humor in "DRACULAS" in the bonus matter. There's "crazy poop bags" and "werewolf poop", so if scattered references to poop offends you, beware. Moreover, there are 30 occurrences of "crap", and as for the "F-bomb"… it is dropped 114 times (-36 not in story). Oh, the joys of a search function in an e-book! I recommend using it. There's "blood" on virtually every page: 382 mentions.

Their "Draculas" have the compassion of hornets, the dentition of sharks, the voracious appetites of shrews and no respect for garlic whatsoever. If you can contemplate a rabid, blood thirsty Edward Scissorteeth in a maternity or pediatric ward, using a severed artery as a drinking straw, or lashing out among the blind… go for it, but with your eyes open.

Do not necessarily trust the reviews, and do not pay $2.99 merely to find out what's in "DRACULAS". There's more than enough in the free sample chapters to give you an accurate idea what to expect.

Know before you buy that you're going to be ambushed by some of the grossest, sickest, most disturbed, politically incorrect and indiscriminate bloodlusty slash fest that four insensitive guys can think up.

Disclaimer. This is an author review. 4-stars is as low as I go. Five Stars!

No comments: