Zakk reviews “Aftertaste” by Kyle M. Scott, 233 pages.
Overall score: 4/5
“Slim lay with her head propped up by two soft pillows, the novel balanced before her nose. The smell of the pages filled her with a quiet joy as she lost herself in the author’s turgid world or rape, violence and depravity.”
Waldo’s Burger Emporium has just opened its doors in the small town of Plainfield, Ohio. It is the town’s first and only fast food establishment. Samantha (Slim) is completely against this brand of eatery with its mass produced sludge consisting of less than pure ingredients, but all her widowed father wants in this world is a meal at Waldo’s with his remaining family.
When one of Slim’s circle of friends falls ill on Waldo’s opening week, and quickly disappears, a mystery begins to fall upon the Plainsfield. Slim and her longtime friend John search for Sam while working through the riddle of the town folks changing personalities and appetites.
Those few who haven’t eaten at Waldo’s must band together while madness envelops Plainfiend’s citizens as fast as the preformed burgers can fall off of the grill.
There’s something in the meat….
“Childhood was a wonder…its magic and mystery tragically fleeting, as formless as wind. The lights in those windows had held real fear for the children. An innocent, harmless dread and apprehension that was both delicious and frightful.”
“Aftertaste” is a tasty morsel of a read (Sorry, I had to do that). It sells you with the sizzle, then satisfies with the steak (that too). Kyle M. Scott serves up a Super Sized, gut busting bucket of discomfort and depravity (I’m on a roll) & by the last page you’ll be picking the gristle out of your teeth… with a shard of bone.
I had a great time with these characters, some are developed more than others but they are all interesting and all do a service to the tale. And while not completely invested in their well being, more so rooting for the madness, some of the many losses hurt.
It’s hard to imagine a town without a corporate eatery as they have infested the country. Yes I know that “Fast-Food” is a world wide phenomenon, but I also know that the the integrity of ingredients is less forced in the U.S.* And you will recognize the deep, profound, largely known and mostly ignored moral of the story is that corporate food sources don’t have your best interest at heart.
This work, as with all of Mr. Scott’s work, is labeled as an extreme horror novel and he delivers on the grue. In spades. There’s enough gore spilling through these pages to satisfy any horror fan’s bloodlust. Stopping just shy of offensive, which is a good thing. I want to be shocked as much as any reader but I don’t want to be outraged.
“The boy looked terrified.
He wasn’t one of the tainted. Yet here he was, led here perhaps, yes, but here he was. And he wanted to be here.”
I hope to see where John’s choices have taken him.
*Full disclosure: I do partake in the occasional corporate food meal, not nearly as often as I used to. But I have taken up a better observation of what is going into my food and where my dollar is headed.
And as always….
Zakk is a dig dumb animal.