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More high-concept, low-execution pornoviolent horror from Garton: five stories and one novella told with little insight, wit, or style. As in Crucifax Autumn (1988, about a heavy-metal Pied Piper) and Live Girls (1987 paperback, about Times Square vampire-hookers), Garton again offers simple, original premises--but, here, ones that he mostly buries under suffocating layers of gore, crude sex, and heavy-handed prose (""kuh-flump. . .slosh. . .kuh-flump. . .slosh. . ."" goes an animate mound of fat in one story; ""I could hear the thump-thump-thump-thump of the bed and Peggy's muffled cries. With my head in my hands, I blubbered. . .,"" laments a cuckolded killer in another). One of the five stories, the grotesque ""Sinema,"" about a boy who blackmails a homicidal pederast to take him to the movies, is a reprint from the Silver Scream anthology (1988). The remaining four are original: ""Fat,"" a potentially tart conceit--about an obese man haunted by his lipo-suctioned fat--that Garton blunts by mixing it ad nauseam with a teen-revenge motif; ""Active Member,"" a brief and repulsively gory story about a penis with a mind of its own; ""Something Kinky,"" a moderately suspenseful and erotic distant cousin to Strangers on a Train; and ""Shock Radio,"" in which an obnoxious radio host gets his just deserts in a predictable way. The most noteworthy tale here is the novella, ""Dr. Krusadian's Method,"" but more for its charged theme--child abuse, and a fantastical cure for it--than for Garton's energetic but clunky exposition, which runs to slobbering demons and thick ropes of maleficent slime. Garton's best remains his first, Live Girls, while these later tales read like the groping first efforts that an apprentice writer usually tosses into a drawer--or the circular file.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1990
Publisher: Dark Harvest (P.O. Box 941, Arlington Heights, IL 60006)