The first book I want to talk about is Heroin In The Magic Now by Terry M. West. In the introduction to this book Terry says how the main character’s pain is based on reality and he tells the story of how he got into the horror genre. In order to get into the business he helped make soft core porn to raise money to make horror films. This lead him into a world of sex, drugs and emotional pain which is what this book is based on.
Heroin in the Magic Now follows a pornographer named Gary Hack, who has found himself making disturbing monster porn videos for his depraved clients. People ask him to do things he can’t live with and the only escape that Gary has is through heroin. The problem is his escape is taking over his life and leading to a darker reality.
Gary is a complicated man, he is self medicated and numb to the fact that vampires, zombies and werewolves are now part of our every day lives. In the beginning he is working on a porn movie called Dracula’s Exotic Guest. He hates what he does and himself for doing it, but he is good at it and still dreams for a better life.
Gary is a brilliant artist but his career didn’t go where he wanted and now he is stuck making monster porn and working with difficult people. Gary handles his problems well enough, such as a leading actress telling him he is the worst director ever and wanting more money. Gary looses a little more of his soul every day, his wife has already divorced him, his daughter wants nothing to do with him and he just got another directing job hes not proud of as head of production for a zombie gang bang movie.
I loved the character of Gary in this book, he is a lost soul and you cant help but root for him despite the bad things he has done. Gary is a man who never meant to hurt anyone, he just did some things that he wasn’t proud of to fulfill his dreams. Heroin In The Magic Now has a good mix of horror and comedy. I loved the concept behind this book and it was a fresh look at a world where monsters do exist, but some of the worst monsters are the ones within. My favorite scene in the book was towards the end where the street vendor who sold Gary a gris-gris bag for protection against the supernatural sells Gary another, saying that each time he has to buy a new one he was going to charge Gary more. If you read the story you will understand but I think Terry was making a point that each time Gary screwed up it was going to be harder for him to get his soul back. Terry M. West knows what makes a good horror story and he knows how to make monsters scary and funny.
Next up is The Clinic by Matthew Weber. Patricia Tyler’s son, Alex, has made the Tyler families lives a living hell. He argues constantly, has destroyed property, bullies family members and classmates, and he is a pyromaniac and sexual deviant. Patricia doesn’t know what to do so she turns to the clinic for help and the reader learns what happens in the future when children misbehave.
This is the kind of story that you would see on The Twilight Zone, except its scarier than anything the classic TV series has to offer. I can’t talk to much about this short story because I don’t want to give it away but I will say that the concept is terrifying. One scene that scared me was when Alex tried to get to his sister late at night. I also thought that it was interesting to see who was on the bus at the end of the story. Where I would agree that Alex deserved to be there, some of the others didn’t. This is a well written story and a chilling read. The story is meant to preview an upcoming anthology by Matthew Weber . If The Clinic is any indication of the quality of the other stories in the book then I would be really excited to see what Matthew Weber has coming out next.
The last book I want to mention is a short story by Terry M. West called The Giving Of Things Cold And Cursed. The year is 1925 and Baker Johnson has just inherited his uncle’s home. His Uncle was an odd man who kept a room full of cursed objects. Baker and his uncle are not like other people, they study the supernatural, collect strange objects and try to prove if spiritualists are charlatans or not.
Even though this is a short story I got the impression that Terry did his homework. The character of Baker made me think of Houdini who also was into proving spiritualists weren’t what they said they were. In 1925 spiritualists were common place and preyed on people who had lost someone. I enjoyed hearing about how the objects taken from the room effected the people’s lives that took them. In particular I liked how the man who wrote humourous poetry started writing dark poetry like Poe when he got a cursed object. This is a well told horror story that reminded me of something you would see on the show Tales From The Darkside.