Peter Smalls might just be the dumbest of the Smalls siblings; he’s certainly the least competent of the brothers we’ve met thus far. I’m not sure that makes him any less dangerous than the others. He might be more dangerous for being how he is. We’re introduced to Peter just before Peter introduces Theo to his rodent buddy, Petey. Theo had somehow got on the wrong side of a member of the Smalls’ extended family, a cousin who goes by Valentine. Bod and his little buddy, Petey, are there to make things good. This is a win-win scenario for Petey because the little fella hasn’t eaten in a while. Bod’s been hired by the Eastern Europeans to take care of some competition, but he’s going to be in for a couple of surprises when it comes time to take care of business. That is if he can think clearly enough to get to the correct address. While Bod wasn’t quite as entertaining as Bliss and Cockwinder for me, it’s still a Smalls Family story, which makes it an absolute thrill ride of over-the-top violence and depravity. You can’t go wrong with any of these stories. Ash Ericmore continues to exhibit the same cinematic storytelling that made readers all over the world fall in love with this dysfunctional family, cementing himself as the literary amalgam of Guy Ritchie and Eli Roth, with just a touch of Tarantino for flavor.
Bod was Ash Ericmore’s release during the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can check it out for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Reed is the fourth of the Smalls brothers we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and it could be argued that he might just be the most unstable and disorganized of the bunch. In Wasphead, we discover a man who prides himself on a certain level of decorum and a pretense of organization and planning, but he is clearly quite lousy at formulating and executing a plan. With the help of his recently adopted associate, Reed Smalls takes on a risky, high profile job that stands to put him in direct conflict with a local crime boss. Thankfully, for us, nothing goes even remotely according to plan. As the story progresses to a messy, fluid-drenched, and dismembered conclusion, we can only hope to hold on for the ride. Reed might be my least favorite of the Smalls brothers we’ve met so far, based on personality alone, but his misadventure is no less captivating than the previous three. The fact that this character is so starkly different from the others we’ve encountered is an excellent display of how thoroughly diverse in their disfunctionality the Smalls brothers are. I can’t even begin to imagine what’s coming next.
Wasphead is available as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for October of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app. The link is below:
Sawbones introduces the reader to Edward Smalls, one of seven siblings in the Smalls family, and it is one hell of an introduction. A meeting with Alfred Leonard, a drug dealer and the criminal equivalent of middle-management, takes an unexpected turn as Edward is asked if he’d be willing to supply a snuff film for some new European business partners. No stranger to killing, Edward agrees to the strange proposition.. He already makes a living by supplying harvested organs on the black market, earning him the nickname Sawbones. How hard can it be to make a video incorporating sex and death? Locating a suitable victim and getting her back to his dungeon workspace turns out to be the simple part. Everything else seems to be working against him, from the oppressive heat to unwanted visitors. Edward learns the hard way that film sets are a perpetual state of barely organized chaos, and that the people behind-the-scenes bankrolling the production often seem not to share the same creative vision as the director. Edward Smalls is a strangely likeable character, considering how he earns his living. Ericmore successfully fleshes out a human monster who seems uncomfortably relatable and awkwardly amusing. It’ll be interesting to meet the other members of the Smalls family as the series continues. If this first installment is a solid basis of what to expect, there’s no way anyone could come out of this series feeling disappointed. The story reads like the novelization of a film written as a collaboration between Tarantino, Ritchie, and Roth.
You can obtain Sawbones, as well as the subsequent two volumes of the series right now, by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app. The link is below:
Dark Places indeed. This book takes the reader/listener to some truly dark places. A Kansas family was slaughtered in the middle of a cold January night in 1985. The only survivor was the youngest daughter, Libby Day. The oldest child, Ben, is the easy suspect for everyone. He’s a troubled teenage boy with a darkness inside of him that easily feeds into the Satanic Panic running rampant in those days. But was he guilty? Was Ben just as innocent of these horrific crimes as he was of the sexual assault accusations being leveled against him by numerous grade school girls? We join Libby as an adult, running out of money from the donations sent her way as a sympathetic child survivor of the Day family massacre. No longer the sympathetic, victimized young girl, Libby lives in squalor and never quite figured out how to properly take care of herself. This desperate situation is what leads her to The Kill Club, a group of true crime fanatics who imagine themselves to be investigators. Ripping off painful bandages and digging into a past she only barely recalls, Libby begins to question her courtroom testimony from all those years before. Some mysteries are better left in the shadows, though. Proving Ben’s innocence might lead to nothing more than further death and horror. Gillian Flynn has a knack for developing interesting characters without making them feel particularly sympathetic. The characters populating Dark Places are no less captivating than others she’s developed, in large part because of precisely how flawed and sometimes awful they happen to be. Despite those flaws and the fact that it’s hard to care about the characters, you can’t help but find yourself invested in what’s happening. The narrations performed by Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, and Robertson Dean are fantastic. We experience different characters, at different times, with distinctly different voices…and it’s a nice touch.
Jason Parent’s Eight Cylinders captures a sort of grindhouse action/horror vibe that I appreciated a great deal. We’ve got a story about crime, cars, creatures, confusion, and condemnation in the middle of the desert…and if that doesn’t appeal to you at least a little bit, there’s probably something wrong with you. Comparing it to movies and other visual mediums, as I usually do, it’s a little bit Tremors, a touch of From Dusk Till Dawn, a good bit The Road Warrior, and a dash of the old show The Prisoner (or maybe, for those who never watched that one, Lost). If you were to toss all of that into a blender and add a splash of cosmic horror, you’d end up with something along the lines of Eight Cylinders. This story had me invested as soon as Seb began using a novelty Magic Eight Ball glass eye to make his decisions for him as he sped away from Vegas after a deal gone exceedingly bad. Criminal and “bad guy” that he might be, Seb is particularly relatable as a protagonist, and you can’t help but cheer him on as he races through the desert multiple times throughout this short tale. The attention to detail concerning cars, trucks, and ATVs through the narrative gives one the impression that Parent is a bit of a gearhead at heart, or certainly one who spent some quality time researching this tale with gearheads…and that comes through clearly with Seb’s absolute love for his Dodge Charger and his appreciation of other vehicles in the narrative. Joe Hempel’s narration is excellent, and I’ll surely be watching for other titles he’s provided his voice talents to. My sole complaint about this story is that it felt a little rushed at times like we were racing from one point to another without getting enough time to really experience where we were.