Something Akin To Revulsion by Judith Sonnet

Judith Sonnet takes a hammer and chisel to our sensibilities and good taste with her collection, Something Akin To Revulsion: Six Extreme Short Stories. There is nothing safe, nothing sacrosanct, and nothing off-limits within these pages–and that’s how it should be.
It was my pleasure to be one of the first to experience LOLCOW, the story that starts this particular collection. Judith’s rendition of this grotesque and graphic tale was the winning performance of the 2022 KillerCon Gross-Out Contest, and with good reason. Plumbing the depths of the internet for hilarious, perverse, and captivating content might provide more stimulation than one is prepared to experience. But like the narrator of LOLCOW, we can’t help ourselves as we return to the trough.
Liquid Sick suitably tackles the TERF epidemic, showcasing for readers that those people spend too much time spewing excrement and too little time on empathy. Judith’s own trans experience influences and informs this narrative, and she does an excellent job of providing both amusement and poignant social commentary. Also, apropos of nothing…fecal emesis has always fascinated me.
Sonnet’s next story, Rehearsal, provides a grim and unrelenting glimpse into the hours before a school shooting transpires. Kids who did nothing wrong find themselves prey to the whims of cruel and maladjusted classmates with pizza cutters to grind.
Body-Crunch takes us to the dimly lit, poorly constructed ring of a backyard wrestling match that goes horrifically wrong. It’s not every day one almost feels bad for a pedophile, but it’s hard not to feel some faint stirring of sympathy as everything comes crashing down–and spilling out.
In Coke-Nail, a group of bored, slacker teenagers decide they know where they might be able to score some cocaine. The deal doesn’t work out as planned, but one of them still manages to reach a state sort of like snowblindness.
Finally, we have Something Akin To Revulsion, wherein some truly awful preadolescent girls decide they’re going to play a prank on the dumpy, less popular girl in their class. The conclusion might have you in stitches, though, so it’s worth sitting through the horror.
Sonnet’s collection is as gripping as it is bleak and nihilistic, and it’s got those traits in spades. Her story notes clarify the inspiration and motivation behind each of the inclusions, and it’s always a pleasure to spend a little time getting to know the author after finishing something that’s hollowed you out like this collection is sure to do.

Beyond Reform by Jon Athan, Aron Beauregard, and Jasper Bark

When I first heard about Beyond Reform, and the authors involved in the book, I knew it was something I had to read. This need became more pronounced when Brian Keene announced the nominees for the Splatterpunk Awards at KillerCon Austin 2022. As a nominee myself, in the same category, I felt a compulsion to dive into the nominated works from my competitors/colleagues/friends. They’re not mutually exclusive categorizations.
Upon reading Beyond Reform, I felt confident that it would be the title that blew the rest of us out of the water. As it turns out, I was correct, and I was waiting to post this review until after I’d confirmed my assessment.
Beauregard, Athan, and Bark capture the theme of Beyond Reform in essentially every conceivable sense. The stories are grim, fatalistic, captivating, sometimes amusing, and often horrifying in their portrayal of the worst aspects of human nature.
Aron Beauregard kicks it all off with the title story, Beyond Reform. Hoping to score some quick cash and have some fun along the way, Marcus finds himself the focus of a couple’s revenge. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, Marcus has made enemies of more than just the two of them, and even the best-laid plans fall apart sometimes. Beauregard pulls no punches and dares the reader to flinch as he ups the ante with each new roll of the dice.
Midnight Glory by Jasper Bark introduces us to a dysfunctional couple with a seemingly unlimited capacity to hurt one another and a similar capacity to sustain the damage. The source of this seemingly supernatural horror is rooted in a gift that turned out to be a bit more than bargained for and a punishment a long time coming. Bark’s grotesque and graphic sexual imagery was almost gag-inducing, and that’s something to be proud of.
Jon Athan hits us next with Tortured Until Proven Innocent, a tale of a vile sexual predator who appears to be getting his comeuppance at the hands of distraught parents. In Athan’s work, as in real life, the stories don’t always have a happy ending, and he doesn’t shy away from hammering that point home with painful clarity.
The Martini Club is Beauregard’s second addition to the collection, and its focus on desperate, lonely women obsessed with rehabilitation and sexual fantasies oriented around a convicted serial killer is a thriller, for sure. As it turns out, not all of the women in The Martini Club have the same sort of fantasies in mind when they finally have the object of their obsessions at hand.
Athan’s Dead But Alive introduces us to a funeral director with a dark and perverse secret that knows no limits, just as the man knows no shame. The disgusting, depraved, and uncompromising delivery from Athan only makes the conclusion to the tale all the more satisfying.
And finally, Jasper Bark concludes the volume with A Most Chemical Wedding, the most unique of the tales included in Beyond Reform. While it is indeed a tale of revenge like much of what came before it, it’s one with numerous twists and wry humor in the mix. Spirituality, alchemy, and a voice that breaks the fourth wall with obvious pleasure make Bark’s second inclusion a fun and fascinating way to wrap everything up.
As you can probably tell, I’m quite a fan of this title.
I’ve heard it said there’s no shame in losing to the best, and the three authors involved in this project showcased why they are some of the best at what they do.

The Damned Ones by Chris Miller, Narrated by Daniel Caravetta

The Damned Ones picks up the threads left behind by The Damned Place 26 years after the horrific conclusion in the forest outside of Winnsboro, TX. The four children have grown up and gone their separate ways, largely relegating the memories of that fateful–and fatal–day to their nightmares. And while they’ve mostly forced themselves to forget what happened, believing it to be a thing of the past, The Glutton has not forgotten, and neither has Jake Reese, still trapped in the dying world where Jim Dalton had left him.
When a woman disappears, and her distraught mother calls the police, it’s Chief Jim Dalton who answers the call. Signs of violence point toward something awful happening in the woman’s apartment, and it’s only the first of many terrible disappearances to plague Winnsboro, all having something to do with Norman Reese, Jake’s younger brother. No less mad, and driven by religious fervor and the pressure of a tumor in his brain, Norman might be precisely what The Glutton needs to force his way into our world.
Jim, Honey, Ryan, and Freddie must come together again to face the monster they hoped they’d left in another world before our world becomes a desolate and dying place as well.
Chris Miller raises the stakes and ramps up the violence for his follow-up to The Damned Place, pulling no punches as he lays out the welcome mat for The Glutton to join us in rural Texas. Mysterious disappearances and secrets from the past have managed to fester long enough that the abscess on the edge of our universe has no choice but to burst and fill our world with its infected burden.
Daniel Caravetta again provides excellent narration for the audiobook, following the children seamlessly into adulthood and bringing their deeply embedded trauma to life. Norman’s harsh and nasal shrieking dialogue was exceptional, and stood out as a high point in the narration.

A Mother’s Love by D. A. Latham and Todd Love

Munchausen by Proxy never looked so disgusting.
Harvey Cutter is dependent on his mother for far more than the fulfillment of the usual needs, especially as an adult. Wanda has cultivated an entirely unhealthy relationship between herself and her son, not to mention an unhealthy diet.
But a relationship like this can only sustain itself for so long, and when Harvey spitefully decides to show his mother that she needs him just as much as he needs her, the end of their perverse codependence isn’t far behind.
The story only gets more disturbing from there.
Love and Latham introduce us to what might be the most dysfunctional family any of us will encounter on the page, and thankfully never in real life. A Mother’s Love is a tale of desperation, manipulation, family, and fear of loss taken to grotesque extremes that these two authors seem to relish in displaying for their readers.

You can obtain this title by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Reincarnage: Maximum Carnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner

If you can imagine the natural outcome of the much-maligned ninth installment of the Friday the 13th series, Jason Goes To Hell, you’ve got some idea of what you’re in for with Reincarnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner.
With the titular Agent Orange, Vietnam Veteran turned slasher extraordinaire, we have a masked, seemingly immortal serial killer who routinely returns to slaughter people who make the mistake of venturing into his territory. The government knows he exists, and they know they’ve found no way to stop him in his murderous rampages more than temporarily. The only solution is to evacuate the region and build a fortified perimeter around the region Agent Orange inhabits. Patroled by military personnel tasked with killing him, again and again, to keep him contained within the walls, the perimeter isn’t perfect but it’s all that separates Agent Orange from the outside world.
Taking a page from Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, Harding and Taverner imagine a culture of “stalkers” developing; brave or insane souls who venture into the kill zone for memorabilia, or for the sake of saying that they survived crossing into Agent Orange’s territory. At the point when Reincarnage takes place, Agent Orange has become as much a part of pop culture as Charles Manson or Jason Voorhees. Books, video games, and collectibles of all sorts proliferate the world the authors introduce us to.
When eleven people wake up in an otherwise abandoned hotel, it doesn’t take long for them to realize they’re on the wrong side of the walls, with no idea how they got there or why they’ve been deposited in the last place any of them would want to be. Conspiracy theories abound, but answers are harder to come by. Maybe, if this band of survivors could find the time to catch their breath and think things through, they could discover why they’re in the ghost town of Morgan and who would want to leave them there; but the number of survivors is steadily diminishing, and staying still for too long only invites disaster.
Will anyone stay alive long enough to discern the truth?
Will anyone escape?
You’ll have to read it to find out.
This edition of the book includes additional material focused on another group of survivors venturing through the kill zone simultaneously, with no better fortune favoring them.

You can obtain this edition of the book by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Mumma by Ash Ericmore

Mumma confirms for readers that the Smalls brothers came by their nature honestly; whether nature or nurture was the primary factor in their development, Mumma was sure to be a massive influence. It would be a challenge not to become a hard man with a matriarch like this at the head of the family.
We’re introduced to Mumma as she’s performing to the best of her ability–with a less-than-optimum partner–for a pornographic movie. It seems like it might be a boring day for her until it turns out that a friend of Peter’s has gotten her son involved in a predicament with one of Mumma’s peers in the criminal underworld.
Unfortunately, sorting everything out with the pimp in question isn’t going to be a smooth and painless process. One should expect nothing less when the Smalls family is involved.
Ericmore never fails to satisfy, and that’s especially true where the Smalls are concerned. From weaponized sex toys to feats of athleticism one wouldn’t expect from an older lady, the excitement doesn’t falter.

You can pick this up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Kherson by Regina Watts

Kherson is as poignant as it is painful to read, and it is a distressingly raw narrative. Regina Watts pulls no punches and provides the reader with no reprieve. The depths of human cruelty and depravity are on grim display without any consideration for the reader because that’s the point.
One Ukrainian woman’s search for food in a devastated city becomes a nightmare as a group of Russian soldiers decide that only Nazis would oppose them–and where Nazis are concerned, all bets are off.
Much like with her previous story, Cleared Away, Watts is showcasing the horrors of war that often get overlooked as body counts and large-scale atrocities steal our attention from the individual cruelties. Cultures around the world already victimize women under normal circumstances, but in war, anything goes.
The horrors in this story are all too common wherever there is war. If you think it’s something distant and perpetrated only by monsters from foreign lands, you’re missing a whole lot of what American forces did during World War II and Vietnam. Monstrous acts happen when people convince themselves that they’re the “good guys” no matter what they do. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are people who will eagerly place themselves in positions to be the “good guys” in situations like these.
What’s happening in this story isn’t unique to Ukraine, but it’s happening now, and that immediacy means we can do something about it. Regina Watts has graciously provided us with an opportunity to help, and buying a copy of Kherson–even if you don’t read it–will guarantee that money gets to outreach for the victims of the conflict.

The link to purchase Kherson is below:

Scissors by Simon McHardy and Sean Hawker

When the National Health Service rejects a trans femme her request to have a vaginoplasty performed, Daphne’s state of mind takes one hell of a hit. Already prone to self-harm and taking her frustrations out on herself, this blow might be the last straw.
But what happens if the offending penis doesn’t want to go without a fight?
What follows is both heartbreaking and ridiculously gruesome, as one might expect from the pairing of Simon McHardy and Sean Hawker. In true McHardy and Hawker fashion, these two provide a graphic and absurdly over-the-top argument in favor of gender reassignment surgeries being more readily available to those suffering from gender dysphoria. Of course, this is not for the squeamish.
As strange as it might seem, I almost think this should be recommended to anyone with transgender friends or family, or those hoping to understand why it’s important to treat transgender health concerns (both mental and physiological) as seriously as any others.

You can pick this up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Dead End Job by Christopher Ridge

Beggars can’t be choosers. But there are more than a few red flags when the homeless man accompanies the ridiculously wealthy man to his palatial home for a million-dollar payday. When one bears a sign indicating they will work for food, there’s typically an implicit limitation to what sort of work they’re signing up for, and the room filled with tools and evidence of horrific undertakings is almost enough to terminate the agreement…almost.
The wealthy man offers his repeated assurances that everything will be fine, despite all appearances to the contrary, and the homeless man agrees to perform the tasks required of him.
Everything is most certainly not fine, not by the loosest definition of the word, but a million buck is a million bucks, and I don’t know that I’d turn down that offer for the gruesome and peculiar requests of the employer.
Christopher Ridge provides readers with a surprisingly strange and entertaining tale with Dead End Job, subverting our expectations every step of the way and leaving us wondering what the hell we just experienced as we reach the conclusion.

You can read this story for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Platinum Blondes: Love Removal Machine by Todd Love

Todd Love continues raising the stakes with the third installment of the Platinum Blondes series. Love Removal Machine picks up where INXS left off, treating readers to deliciously deserved punishment and violence enacted against Troy. But something more is going on, faint glimpses of unnatural activity from the chair upon which Troy is bound are blurred with the frantic vengeance unleashed by the women of the Platinum Blondes Agency.
Dark secrets have been kept from most of the women Gwen’s recruited, sinister mysteries that originate in her youth and the hubris of her father. Todd drags us through this sordid history, unveiling surprise after shocking surprise along the way, hitting the reader over and over again with the brutal pacing of a professional fighter. In the world of the Platinum Blondes, no one and nothing is as it seems.
Todd Love adds new questions as quickly as he answers the ones we already had, but there’s no need to worry…the story isn’t over yet.

You can obtain the Platinum Blondes series for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below: