Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review Unknown Pleasures

Reviewed by SheriWhite

I love short stories, and really enjoy single-author collections. Collections are better than long-fiction to get to know the author better. It tells you what’s in his or her head, which can be a little disconcerting when you’re reading horror stories.

There are weird things going on in Charles Colyott’s head. Creepy things. And a few nasty things.
In the first story, “Severance,” a man is tortured by dreams of his missing fiancĂ©e; he is convinced she’s been killed since she just wouldn’t leave him. He sees her wounded and bloody, reaching for him, surrounded by other dead people. He admits himself to a psychiatric center to find relief. What he finds is much worse.

“Commitments” reminded me somewhat of King’s “Quitter’s Inc.,” which is a story I’ve always liked. Instead of a self-help company, a man is stalked by a cable company. We’ve all felt that rage at being bothered at home through our phone by people you don’t want to talk to. But Ben has no choice - he MUST talk to this person or never see his wife again.
Charles Colyott
I really enjoyed “TEETH grinder.” I can’t think of anybody who enjoys that long, cold needle full of Novocain sliding into their gums. The feel of a tooth being removed from its socket, with that sucking sound that runs down your spine. Charles captures that perfectly in this story. But that’s not all to the story - it gets really messed up and chilling. Think of vagina dentate, only male-oriented. Yeah, it’s creepy.

A man is ticked off that his wife hasn’t cleaned the house after giving birth to their son. Nagging doesn’t help, so he decides to clean up himself - and clean up HIMSELF. “Dead Things” will have your teeth aching and your spine spasms toward the end.
“Seed” takes the awful consequences of bullying and makes them even worse. The bullied becomes the bully, with horrific and sad results. This story is really great and one of my favorites.
The final story, “The Catastrophic Loves of Edgar J. Spurlock,” is pretty gross, but Charleswarns the reader of that from the get-go. One of the characters, “Peepers,” will make quite an impression on you.

Other stories in this collection include zombies, conjoined twins, a deal with President Death and other twisted themes. Unknown Pleasures is a collection you’ll want to have on your shelf, and a great way to be introduced to a new author. But try not to think of the things going on in his head.

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