The Trap House provides us with a story of squandered potential, pissed away by an inconsiderate jackass. We’ve all known people who peaked in high school–or sooner–who never evolve past that point, and who can’t seem to recognize that the rest of the world has moved on around them. Get ready to see that taken to an extreme. Lil Snap was seemingly a golden child, with a great future ahead of him, until he tripped over his own ego and shit the bed in a spectacularly public display of ignorance and bigotry. Of course, one can never be too sure just how accurate that recollection is, seeing as how the character is a selfish psychopath with delusions of grandeur. With everyone turning their backs on him out of self-preservation and dignity, an embarrassing altercation in a check-out lane shatters the last vestiges of humanity in the vile cretin. Enter Hooper, with a deal that’s too good to be true. For someone accustomed to expecting everything handed to them, there’s no consideration that it can’t be that easy. The punishment in this installment is one I didn’t see coming until it had already been enacted. It’s become a thrill, trying to figure out from the narrative which direction the comeuppance will take, but this one hit me out of the blue, even though the clues were there.
The Trap House is Drew Stepek’s contribution to the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com, released on his birthday of October 21st. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or downloading the app. The link is below:
Peter Caffrey brings us a new tale of scumbaggery, and with it, a new glimpse of what Hooper is capable of in Freak Fuck. We meet Doctor Oliver/Doctor Fairweather just as he’s transitioning from one name to another, setting up shop in a new country. Our fly-by-night plastic surgeon dedicates his life to preying on the insecure and vulnerable, promising beauty and restoration of youth, only to take whatever he can swindle from his prospective clients/patients. As the story progresses, we discover that the good doctor has a great many unsavory and horrific appetites, the greatest of which being his desire to experiment on unwilling subjects, crafting monstrous perversions of natural, human beauty. When his accomplice nurse fails to arrive for work, Nurse Hooper arrives in just the nick of time, ready and willing to aid the man in his larceny and misdeeds. This is not the Hooper we’ve come to expect, and, arriving on scene as Hooper does, it sets a whole different tone to the interactions between scumbag and arbiter, showcasing Hooper as one who can adapt to whatever the circumstances require. Caffrey’s addition to the Hoopiverse brings us one of the more extreme and vile scumbags we’ve had the pleasure of seeing meet his fate, and Hooper seems to be a bit more hands-on in the application of judgment this time around. I wasn’t sure how this one would play out, and there were so many directions it could go, but Caffrey provides us with quite the unsettling, yet one of the most well-deserved punishments so far in the series.
This installment of the Fucking Scumbags series was released as part of the http://www.godless.com 31 Days of Godless event. You can procure this–and the other installments–by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Hell Week introduces us to Tailor, President of the Sigma House fraternity, just as he’s about to cross a line from which he’ll never come back. Let’s face it, though, Tailor was an irredeemable and monumental piece of shit long before he ever approached the line he’s careening toward. You’re sure to feel just like I do, thinking Hoop can’t show up fast enough. Tailor and his inner circle of fraternity brothers pride themselves on degrading women in every conceivable way, but they appear to especially enjoy drugging and raping impressionable and insecure younger girls from their college. Alone with Nicole/Melanie/Pig Dolphin as she’s rapidly losing consciousness, Tailor discovers that taking everything up a notch might be the only way he’ll be able to get off this time. Already a monster, he doesn’t flinch as he passes the point of no return, in the process, destroying multiple additional lives with casual cruelty and disregard for anything approaching humanity. This kid should have been on Hoop’s radar for a long time before the events of Hell Week. Spoiled, narcissistic, cold-blooded, and lazy, the best that can be said about Tailor is that he’s apparently handsome and that he comes from wealth. Thankfully, with Hoop’s intervention, Tailor manages to do something good, unintentionally taking out the trash as he receives his comeuppance. Lewis Kelly is a new name for me, as I’m sure he is for many of you, but his is a name you’ll want to be watching for. I do not doubt that we’ll be seeing a lot of good material coming from this up-and-coming writer. Hell Week is a worthy addition to the Hoopiverse, and Lewis is a worthy author to have been included.
This title is available September 15th, 2021 on http://www.godless.com or through the Godless app, available on your preferred mobile platform. The link is below:
If like me, of the two major vampire films released in 1987, you prefer the Kathryn Bigelow directed Near Dark over Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys, Knuckle Supper is the vampire novel for you. The Lost Boys may have had the audience and the soundtrack, but Near Dark had the brutality, originality, and grittiness that befitted the monsters at the heart of the story. Knuckle Supper carries that tradition into 21st-century horror literature. Stepek writes vampires the way one might expect from someone who wants to take the monsters back from the L. J. Smiths and Stephenie Meyers of the world, restoring them to the darkness and underground where they belong. It’s difficult for me to describe what he’s put together in these pages that race past the reader at a rapid-fire pace. Knuckle Supper is, in effect, Anne Rice meets Irvine Welsh, Near Dark meets Requiem for a Dream, and a little bit The Warriors meets 30 Days of Night. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I honestly don’t know how else I can try to describe it without just reading the book to you, and we know I’m not going to do that. We meet RJ and Dez as they’re preparing to murder a pimp in the home they’re squatting in, a steadily depreciating house once belonging to a former child star turned heroin addict. RJ, Dez, and the rest of the Knucklers aren’t your typical Hollywood vampires, even though they live in Los Angeles. Blood isn’t their only addiction. They need heroin to survive. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as spiking a needle into their veins to get their fix. They need blood to carry the high into their starving, desiccated internal organs. Enter the pimp they’re about to have for supper. The (almost) 13-year-old prostitute carelessly tossed into the bathroom is all but forgotten as RJ and Dez make a mess of the place in their desperate chase for a fix. Against his better judgment, and displaying more humanity than his peers, RJ decides not to kill the young girl. This act of uncharacteristic decency is how Bait becomes part of his family. It’s also how everything begins to spiral out of control, ultimately bringing RJ face-to-face with The Cloth, an organization he’d dismissed as nothing but a vampire’s boogeyman, and the painful truth at the core of what RJ actually is. Drew Stepek introduces readers to a Los Angeles populated by a different sort of gang, consisting of a wholly different kind of gangster from what we’ve become familiar with from popular culture. The city is divided up between tenuously allied gangs of vampires, each feeding and dealing on their own turf. Brutal, far from immortal, and impulsive, Stepek’s vampires are prone to massive errors in judgment, and it’s only a matter of time before the flimsy alliances fracture and violence ensues. There’s more to this story than drug addiction and graphic violence, though there’s plenty of both. There’s also a depth and character to this story that underscores the superficial, splattery elements of the narrative.
You can obtain a copy of Knuckle Supper as well as the sequel, Knuckle Balled, by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device: The link to this title on both Godless and Amazon are below:
The Doze takes the unrelenting violence and satisfying splash of gore and viscera from the previous two Godless League installments and runs headlong into a concrete wall with it. Of course, this concrete is the fluid manifestation of Jack Slaughterdozer. If you’re trying to figure out just what sort of superhero The Doze might be, think a little bit Sandman, a little bit Green Lantern, maybe a touch of Venom, and a whole lot of Hulk–plus just a smidge of Lennie Small, for those who read Of Mice and Men. The Doze can transform himself from an already dangerous man into a giant formed of living concrete, able to transform himself into seemingly anything he can imagine–and his imagination for causing damage is virtually unlimited. When assholes from Construction Mercenary Union Local 222 show up to demolish Slaughterdozer’s home in the landfill on behalf of Globoshame Construction Corporation, all hell breaks loose in the most graphic, over-the-top manner one could imagine. I’m pro-union, but these guys deserve what’s coming to them. Running counter to the excessive violence and concrete climax, there’s a story of tragedy and pain, with the loss of Slaughterdozer’s family and the painful cost of illiteracy. Stepek takes readers on a rollercoaster of highs and lows that shouldn’t even be possible within such a short tale, but he guides us masterfully through the loops and whirls, and we reach the end exhausted and fighting back tears.
You can pick up The Doze, as well as the other Godless League titles, by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device. The link is below:
If you haven’t already heard about May Cause Unexplained Ocular Bleeding, this post is for you. If you’ve heard about my new book, but you don’t know whether it’s something you’re interested in, this post is also for you. Essentially, this post is for anyone and everyone. Tomorrow morning, August 18th, my second collection of short fiction becomes available in digital formats at http://www.godless.com for the low price of $2.99, which is $1 cheaper than it’ll be in digital format when it goes live on Amazon on Friday, August 20th. It will also be available in paperback on August 20th for the low price of only $8.99. Check out this cover, designed by the fantastic Drew Stepek.
That design alone should be enough to whet your appetite. If you’re one of those style over substance sorts, that cover layout should be all it takes to convince you that you need this in your collection. Of course, you’re in for more than a fancy-looking cover when you pick up a copy of this book. Not only does this collection include the sleeper hit, Horseplay, from Godless, but it contains nine additional short stories that are sure to make my readers uncomfortable as often as it entertains them. Not only that, but I have made certain to include a brief note that details the inspiration behind each of these tales of terror and tribulation. Some of these notes are more worthwhile than others, but I wanted you–my readers–to know me a little better when you came out of the experience than you might have on your way in. Here’s the description from the back cover of the paperback edition:
I didn’t know how to react when Carver Pike provided me with what I must admit is likely to be the best blurb I could ever hope to receive. Any comparison to a writer of Gaiman’s caliber is going to be flattering–and also impossible to live up to. I’m going to hope that I don’t let my readers down when I turn out to be nowhere near the author Neil Gaiman happens to be. Adrian Ludens not only provided a fantastic blurb, but his keen eyes also caught little bits and pieces of editing that had slipped through the cracks along the way. After staring at the same stories for so long, one becomes inured to faults and flaws that might ruin the tone of a story. It’s a sort of editing blindness that creeps in and destroys otherwise fantastic manuscripts. Had it not been for Mr. Ludens taking the time to read the stories with a critical eye, I might have missed a handful of mismatched tenses and incorrect words.
You can, of course, purchase this title from http://www.godless.com or through the Godless app tomorrow. The link is below:
You can also hold out until Friday the 20th, to pick up a copy at the following link on http://www.amazon.com
Pink introduces us to Theo as she attends SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) for the first time. Theo has a problem–and it’s far worse than what the reader might first imagine–but it soon becomes clear she’s uninterested in finding a solution. She’s not there for help. She’s there on the prowl. The usual therapist who hosts these meetings isn’t available, but Dr. Hooper is there to help everyone through the session. As Theo’s initial meeting of SAA becomes progressively more bizarre and surreal, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of unease, knowing that there’s more to the story and that we’re probably not going to like what awaits us. It’s only after Theo brings one of the other sex addicts home to her apartment that we get the first glimpse of just how dark and perverse Theo’s hunger happens to be. With a brief glimpse of a jar and bloody chains, we join Casey in feeling a sense of disorientation and panic as we realize there’s something far worse than sex addiction going on. By the time it’s all over–and the story comes to a close–we’re forced to examine the definition of murder and what it means to kill someone. Shupeck paints us an excruciatingly real portrait of someone who doesn’t care who she hurts, as long as she gets what she wants. What she wants is to live the adage, “misery loves company.” Anyone who has read the previous five installments in the FSBIH series will recognize that Hooper tends to give people a choice, and it’s the very choice they make that leads them into his power. This is no different. Theo is given a choice, more clearly than most of Hooper’s “victims” have gotten…and Theo does indeed make her choice with wide-open eyes. This one might be the worst of the installments to read so far, for reasons that will be clear to anyone upon arriving at the end. The graphic, grotesque imagery is only half of the problem. It’s the depravity and monstrous nature of Theo herself that hits the hardest.
This title is exclusively available through http://www.godless.com or via the Godless app for your Apple and Android devices. You can obtain it at the following link:
Lushbutcher expands on The Godless League in a wildly different direction from the first installment. Where John Stabberger seemed like a sane, albeit homicidal, character, Jane Lushbutcher–not her real name–seems far more indiscriminate in her targeting of drunks, and her state of mental health is questionable, to put it nicely. With a motivation born from the combination of childhood tragedy and a mission bestowed on her by God–who speaks to her through various inanimate objects and discarded food items–she seems initially sympathetic. The execution of her single-minded objective to stop drunk drivers wherever she can find them seems to be a bit more flexible in Lushbutcher’s interpretation–as well as the perspective of her God. There’s no denying that this is a fun, violent joyride through the seedy streets and rooftops of Pittsburgh. But with victims less cut and dried as bad guys, Lushbutcher doesn’t come across as quite as focused and relatable as Stabberger. Don’t let that turn you away from the story, though. It’s still an exciting, delirious adventure.
You can check this one out for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app for Android and Apple. The link for this title is below:
Skin Deep feels like the answer to the unanswered question, “What if Nip/Tuck had included an absolute sociopath as a protagonist?” Lucas Milliron expertly answers that question by crafting a narrative that showcases both the depravity and evil of Mike’s character but also the vulnerability and fear that serves as the substrate of who he’s become. The random glimpses into a horrifying childhood make it almost impossible to write Mike off as a two-dimensional piece of shit caricature. However, no amount of childhood trauma and abuse can make his actions throughout the story palatable or justified, and a reader can’t help but wish for Hooper to come along. Milliron brings a different style to the Hoopiverse. He provides the reader with a frenetic, hallucinatory barrage of set pieces that manage to be simultaneously jarring and free-flowing. At no point does the reader see around the corner to what the next scene brings to the table, and that adds to the bewildering nature of this installment of the series. As someone who can’t bear to have objects in/near my eyes, there was something viscerally unsettling about different aspects of this story.
As with the other installments of Fucking Scumbags Burn In Hell, you can obtain your own copy of this story at http://www.godless.com or on the Godless app, available for both Apple and Android users. The link to the story is below:
Karen is the fourth installment of the Fucking Scumbags Burn In Hell series, initiated by Drew Stepek. This volume was thrust upon us by Lucy Leitner. She was perhaps the perfect writer for him to next incorporate into his Hoopiverse. It’s plain to see that, as soon as Stepek allowed Leitner to take the wheel, she proceeded to plow her BMW through no less than half a dozen overweight men, women, and children in a rampage from which the reader can’t turn away. Karen is…well…a Karen in every conceivable sense. If you don’t know what that means, I’m curious about how you’re reading this review from your space beneath the rock under which you’ve clearly been residing. Karen’s not someone you’d want to follow on Instagram, for sure, unless you’re looking for tone-deaf comparisons with concentration camps. That particular gag reminded me a great deal of Marjorie Taylor Greene, and I subsequently pictured Greene in the role of Karen for the rest of the story. By the time Hooper comes along, you’re practically begging to see this monster receive the comeuppance you know she’s got coming. Leitner does not disappoint!
You can find this title, as well as the other amazing contributions to the Hoopiverse, by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your Android or Apple device of choice. I’ve included the link to the Hoopiverse titles below: