The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow presents The Eyes of Madness, “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews “Eidolon Avenue” by Jonathan Winn. 216 pages published by Crystal Lake Publishing, 2016.
“Her past revisiting her was no surprise. In those spaces tucked along the edge of clarity marched an army of memories. And with time running short, daybreak to dusk a quickening parade of regret and guilt, there was little else for an old recluse to do than tug emotional threads from a century’s worth of unraveling quilts.”
Eidolon Avenue: where the secretly guilty go to die.
One building. Five floors. Five doors per floor. Twenty-five nightmares feeding the hunger lurking between the bricks and waiting beneath the boards.
The First Feast. A retired Chinese assassin in apartment 1A fleeing from a lifetime of bloodshed. A tattooed man in 1B haunted by his most dangerous regret. A frat boy serial killer in 1C facing his past and an elderly married couple stumbling and wounded from fifty years of failed murder/suicide pacts in 1D. And, finally, a young girl in 1E whose quiet thoughts unleash unspeakable horror.
All thrown into their own private hell as every cruel choice, every deadly mistake, every drop of spilled blood is remembered, resurrected and relived to feed the ancient evil that lives on Eidolon Avenue.
“The State had decided this was where she had to be. With her dad as flat as a pancake under the car in the garage and her mom, after belting back her fifth Jack and Coke of the morning, shredding her throat by eating the glass, she’d had nowhere else to go.
‘Worthless cunt never could hold her liquor,’ Gran had said with a laugh.
Had she known there’d be a new home, a new school, new classes, and new kids, all making fun of the skinny girl with the boney knees who walked too slow and read too much, she wouldn’t have sorta accidentally wished her folks dead.”
This is exactly what I have been waiting for, new Jonathan Winn fiction. It is a cause for celebration. It is also a reason to cower behind a heavy piece of furniture, or under a thick warm blanket. Anywhere that will provide you with a sense of security. Spoiler alert, that feeling of safety, will be ripped away soon. Don’t worry honey, it’s only fiction, right? …Right?
Jonathan Winn’s prose is venom laced confectioners frosting. It is dense, rich and delectable, hypnotic almost. Then the toxin hits. Not enough to cause death, oh no. Mr. Winn wants you incapacitated, but totally lucid while he taunts you with his horror show vignettes.
These five shared-world stories are Freudian fever dreams, populated with four dimensional characters living varied nightmares. A painted canvas so vivid it’s haunting.
I sincerely hope that this book finds its audience. It deserves to be seen, read, experienced. It’s tales handed down generation to generation as a warning. I have a desperate need to know what resides on the second floor, up that flight of discolored stairs and beyond. I, for one, hope the stories get darker, even more wicked, as you ascend the building on Eidolon Avenue. What does that say about me?
This is what horror should be, at least, it’s what I like my horror to be. Not only graphic and lurid, but beautiful, jarring and unnerving as well. Weighing heavy on the mind and spirit. Violently abducting you from your safe place, shattering your comfort zone with a wrench to the skull. Applying a constant pressure on the (constantly constricting) boundaries of what is deemed socially acceptable.
This is my horror. And like a pastor in the church of horror, this is the book that I’ll be preaching to my congregation.
P.S. Don’t take the warning label lightly, Eidolon Avenue means business.
Note: I received a review copy of this book from the author on the promise of an honest review. Then I purchased a copy because one must support the art that moves them. Otherwise that art goes away. Nonetheless, these are my unbiased feelings.
“‘We are a walking history of our failures,’ Marta said as she snapped the napkin open and laid it across her lap. ‘A stumbling catastrophe of unbelievable screw ups that, as you can plainly see, screwed us up.’ She laughed, the tight smile on her gleaming lips held a moment longer than needed. ‘Really, it’s just been an endless array of aborted endings. Until now, I mean.'”
Overall score: An enthusiastic 5/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
“There were words. I didn’t read them.”
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