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.