A nasty, freaky, and haphazardly funny horror story.


A punk-rock vagabond circa 1977 and a struggling Hollywood stuntwoman circa 2013 find themselves connected through a grotesque paranormal underground society.

Whatever those guys are smoking over at Cracked.com is working—this is the fourth good novel from a contributor, following David Wong’s John Dies at the End (2009) and This Book Is Full of Spiders (2012) as well as Wayne Gladstone’s Notes From the Internet Apocalypse (2014). Brockway (Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, 2013, etc.) takes a less flippant approach to his over-the-top horror show, but humor and verve still bleed through in the voices of his vibrant lead characters. We meet Carey Horton in the beating heart of Manhattan’s punk scene as he and his friends get smashed, thrash their way through concerts, and revel in their squalid DIY existence. But dark forces are awakening in the form of “unnoticeables,” or “empty ones,” which are human shells that now house something…else. “You look for humanity in human-shaped things, and when you don’t find it, your broken, clouded minds just glaze right over it,” one of them tells Carey. “We are like you, but missing your inefficiencies.” He also encounters “tar men,” which are Lovecraft-ian monstrosities with acidic, flammable goo spread over mechanical skeletons. The book leaps between Carey’s youth and the present day, in which we meet Kaitlyn Barr, a cocktail waitress who yearns to become a professional Hollywood stuntwoman. She’s also begun seeing angels, which is making her doubt her sanity. At a party one night, she meets former child star Marco Luis (a thinly veiled doppelgänger of Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell, which is funny all by itself). When Marco forces a kiss on Kaitlyn, she feels something cold, metallic, and distinctly inhuman slither inside her. Who should rescue her but an aged, alcoholic, and homeless Carey? There’s a lot of cosmic mythology in between about blood rituals and the origins of these surreal angels and demons, but readers will enjoy themselves more if they just kick back and enjoy the wild ride.

A nasty, freaky, and haphazardly funny horror story.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7966-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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