BOOK REVIEW: The Crackhouse in the Desert by Dani Brown

The Crack House in the Desert is a horror novel written by Dani Brown and released by J. Ellington Ashton Press on July 4. Kindle length: 133 pages.

The Plot

In a bleak, dystopian America, a man journeys through the desert to solve the mystery of an apocalyptic event.

The Player

Vict is a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world who’s tapped to help humanity unlock the secrets of the past to save the future.

The Review

Is The Crack House in the Desert a metaphor for humanity’s addiction to self-destructive behaviors that destroy the environment? It could be.

Grim and thought-provoking, Crack House is a viscerally descriptive view of the future of humankind and where it could wind up if it continues along a course of drug addiction, environmental irresponsibility, and living without purpose.

Crack House is the story of a man named Vict and his journey to investigate the past to find hope for the future. Living an impoverished life inside a desert shack, Vict is transported by mutant fish people to an underground facility in the mountains where a human enclave delves into ancient medicine and technology to resurrect the dead and to determine what caused the apocalypse.

Vict is surprised to find he’s an expected guest at the facility. His first meaningful encounter is with a woman named Poppy who says cryptically, “We’ve been watching you, Vict. We sent the fish people to collect you when everything was meant to be ready. We know about your dreams. We sent the storm.”

Vict’s dreams suggest he can resurrect dead bodies, which affords him the chance to discover what destroyed most of humanity and created mutants. However, the knowledge is locked away in his memories, but he knows the answer lies somewhere in a place called Arizona.

The strength of Crack House is Brown’s ability to describe her post-apocalyptic world. It’s a desolate, poisoned world full of death and decay. A world where vomit burns holes in clothing. Humans are covered in oozing, pus-filled blisters. Maggots are considered healthy snacks. Corpses are spit to the surface by rainstorms. And women use their bodies in the most unsavory ways to acquire basics like tarps and buckets from men and mutants.

Some of the most gut-wrenching parts of the book are in the first four chapters when Brown describes Vict’s mother.

“His mother couldn’t do much of anything, except smoke her escape as she pried crust away from the spot between her legs, waiting for an entry that sometimes didn’t come at all. She couldn’t even chew on her meth pipe anymore, not without teeth.”

The Crack House in the Desert is dark and dismal, but Vict’s determination offers enough light to brighten the story to a shadowy dusk.

While the ending – specifically the final two paragraphs – of Crack House confused me, I was not confused about Brown’s ability. Her writing is powerfully descriptive, and her revelation of the cause of the apocalypse is surprising and original.

Press Release: Night of the Penguins by Dani Brown

Press Release: Night of the Penguins

Overthrowing cults with the aid of a new God

 

A secret cult operates at the zoo Carla works at. They pay doesn’t keep food in her cupboards.  All her clothes are second hand. There isn’t enough money to cope with management, preferred employees, and customers.

Starving before her wages land in her pay packet, Carla walks up the hill to steal some food from the zoo.  She isn’t alone. Induction night for the cult happens at the same place. They need sacrifices to the old Gods to maintain power.

Carla knew management were too stupid to keep power on their own. She didn’t realize the help was supernatural. She hides, looking for morsels to ear. Management know someone is there.

Left with no choice, and nothing to eat, Carla must overthrow the cult. It isn’t a simple case of one bad employer, but many. For underpaid, under-appreciated employees everywhere, Carla stands up aided by a new God.

Dani Brown is the author of “My Lovely Wife” and “Middle Age Rae of F***ing Sunshine” (both out now from Morbidbooks). When she isn’t writing she enjoys knitting and thinking of the finer points of invading Finland with an army of chavs mounted on dingoes. She has an unhealthy obsession with Mayhem’s drummer and doesn’t trust anyone who claims Velvet Underground as their favourite band.

Dani Brown can be reached at the following:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dani.brown.5074644

Twitter: @crazycatlady4