WETBONES by John Shirley

WETBONES

KIRKUS REVIEW

 G-R-R-I-S-L-Y...by the author of A Splendid Chaos (1988). Horrible as this is, it has redeeming values, one being its warning against addictive pleasures and too much partying. When down-at-heels screenwriter Tom Prentice identifies his ex-wife Amy in the morgue, she's 50 pounds underweight and mutilated. Then when Prentice pitches a banal cop-show to studio head Arthwright, Arthwright is oddly not dismissive of the dumb idea. As we later find out, Arthwright is a kind of astral vampire. Meanwhile, Reverend Garner, a recovering doper/alcoholic who runs a ministry in Oakland, finds that his teenage daughter Constance is missing. She's been kidnapped by Ephram Pixie, a ghoul with astral ties who turns Constance into a pleasure addict by psychic pressure on her pleasure-center brain cells. Ephram likes to have Constance enjoy sex in his presence while she murders folks in nasty ways in motel rooms. Mitch Teitelbaum, the missing young brother of Tom's roommate Jeff, turns up in a hospital after deliberately laying bare his chest muscles and slitting open his leg, among other enjoyable self-injuries, after a strange party. With echoes of The Shining, this all-continuing party takes place at the fenced-in residence of some ageless Malibu film folk and famed party-givers (including Arthwright) who have been living for decades as vampires of pleasure. Their particular pleasure is to extend their snouts like a mosquito's feeding tube and suck out just enough flesh to leave a victim emaciated but still alive. Some of the party guests are themselves in advanced decay but still actively autoerotic. The story's ghastliest effects focus on the wetbones, or victims now a skinless rubble of fresh bones--bones sometimes strapped together with thongs to make wet furniture.... The queasies'll getcha if you don't watch out!

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-929480-63-5
Page count: 271pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1991




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