Monday 14 April 2014

Dark Review - Splatterlands

A Review of Splatterlands

By Casey Douglass

I haven’t read many books that made me feel dirty. Splatterlands, published by Grey Matter Press managed to do that repeatedly. The stories inside are so gory, charnal and raw that the 13 tales flashed by all too quickly.

As the title of the book might suggest, this is a decidedly adult book. It features the strongest language possible, scenes of rape, sexual kinkiness, cannibalism and brutal murder, so if that kind of thing leaves you colder than a ravaged corpse, I doubt this book will be for you.

Below, I have given only the briefest titillation as to what the short stories are about. I don’t want to ruin their impact if you do decide to purchase the book.

The first tale is Heirloom by Michael Laimo. It follows a young girl who takes possession of her father’s antique rifle and puts it to uses that would surely void the original warranty if it was still in force.

The second, Violence for Fun and Profit by Gregory L. Norris, follows the fortunes of a poor soul who has fallen foul of the banking system and the arseholes that make the decisions. What starts as revenge soon turns into something far more profitable.

The third story is Empty by A.A. Garrison, a tale that features so much swearing and gore that the universe it plays out in begins to rip under the pressure.

Number four is Amputations in the Key of D by Jack Maddox, a fascinating look at the creative process and a way that an artist might find his true ability.

Five is Housesitting by Ray Garton, a cautionary tale about rummaging through other peoples property if ever there was one.

Number six is Dis by Michele Garber, a descent into madness and demon pleasing barbarity that twists the psyche into a wretched and brutal thing.

Tale seven is Dwellers by Paul M. Collrin, a mystical desert trip that turns out to be the most eye opening thing in main character Scrye’s life.

Eight is Party Guests by Chad Stroup, a look into the mind of Geoffrey, a ‘special’ young man who sees the world in his own unique and bloody way.

Story number nine is The Viscera of Worship by Allen Griffin, which follows the travails of a man who walks the dark path of Leviathan, out to test his faith and prove himself worthy of his God.

Number ten is The Defiled by Christine Morgan. A group of raping warriors comes up against a foe that just happens to treat them the way they most sorely deserve.

Story eleven is The Artist by James S. Dorr, a tale that finds the joy in meat being moulded into various forms.

Number twelve is A Letter To My Ex by J. Michael Major, a confessional suicide email filled with enough suffering to scar the recipient for life.

The final story is Devil Rides Shotgun by Eric Del Carlo. A struggling detective invokes outside forces in his hunt for a vicious serial killer.

I enjoyed all of the stories but the stand out ones for me at least, were: A Letter To My Ex, Heirloom and The Viscera of Worship. The first is just mind numbing, the second so rudely sexual and the third so dark and meaty that they stayed with me the longest of any of the tales.

There were a couple I didn’t enjoy, partly due to their writing style but I won’t single them out as it will be a very subjective thing from reader to reader.

I would happily recommend Splatterlands to any lover of the extreme side of fiction; someone who doesn’t feel averse to the feeling of sleaze seeping into their mind until they can almost taste it.

Rating : 5/5