The Eyes of Madness presents “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
“The cataract-eye of the moon glowered down through the clouds like a Cyclops swaddled in gauze. Mosquitoes swarmed around the bloody handkerchief bandaging what remained of my left hand. I might’ve swatted them, but the pain was sleeping and I was afraid to wake it.
I stopped in the middle of the crossroads, looking around at the whole lot of nothing, trying to decide which way I should walk. I fished the cuck’s hipflask from my pocket.”
From Adam Howe, winner of Stephen King’s On Writing contest, come three original novellas of hardboiled crime, graphic horror and pitch-black gallows humor.
DAMN DIRTY APES
Washed-up prizefighter Reggie Levine is eking a living as a strip club bouncer when he’s offered an unlikely shot at redemption. The Bigelow Skunk Ape – a mythical creature said to haunt the local woods – has kidnapped the high school football mascot, Boogaloo Baboon. Now it’s up to Reggie to lead a misfit posse including a plucky stripper, the town drunk, and legend-in-his-own-mind skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury. Their mission: Slay the beast and rescue their friend. But not everything is as it seems, and as our heroes venture deeper into the heart of darkness, they will discover worse things waiting in the woods than just the Bigelow Skunk Ape. The story the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape tried to ban; Damn Dirty Apes mixes Roadhouse with Jaws with Sons of Anarchy, to create a rollicking romp of 80s-style action/adventure, creature horror and pitch-black comedy.
DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET
Escaped mental patient Terrence Hingle, the butcher of five sorority sisters at the Kappa Pi Massacre, kidnaps timid diner waitress Tilly Mulvehill and bolts for the border. Forcing his hostage to drive him out of town, it’s just a question of time before Tilly becomes the next victim in Hingle’s latest killing spree. But when they stop for gas at a rural filling station operated by deranged twin brothers, Dwayne and Dwight Ritter, the tables are turned on Hingle, and for Tilly the night becomes a hellish cat-and-mouse ordeal of terror and depravity. The meat in a maniac sandwich, Tilly is forced against her nature to make a stand and fight for survival. Because sometimes the only choice you have is to do or die…to Die Dog Or Eat The Hatchet.
Prohibition-era 1930s… After an affair with the wrong man’s wife, seedy piano player Smitty Three Fingers flees the city and finds himself tinkling the ivories at a Louisiana honky-tonk owned by vicious bootlegger Horace Croker and his trophy wife, Grace. Folks come to The Grinnin’ Gator for the liquor and burlesque girls, but they keep coming back for Big George, the giant alligator Croker keeps in the pond out back. Croker is rumored to have fed ex-wives and enemies to his pet, so when Smitty and Grace embark on a torrid affair…what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by true events, Gator Bait mixes hardboiled crime (James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice) with creature horror (Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive) to create a riveting tale of suspense.
“From her perch on the tree branch, Tilly couldn’t see what was happening in the cellar. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. Judging by Hingle’s screams wasn’t enjoying themselves. Couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy, she thought.”
Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet is your favorite single-author collection’s drunk uncle. Hilarious, uncouth, borderline inappropriate but grossly charming. The kind of book your parents warn you away from but every time you look they are hovering around it lost in it’s words. Die Dog is a burlap sack filled with a menagerie of blunt and dangerous objects, a car crash at your neck and call. And really, what else could you expect with a title that rolls off of the tongue like a brick? Fiction that the crushes the cranium with the impact of one.
This book is a romp! Swerving out of my horror wheelhouse with something that I didn’t know I needed at the time. Something different, and staunchly entertaining.
Meeting Adam online, he perused my finished-reads pile and sent a message starting with “I think you may get a kick out of this.” And guess what? I did! Straight to the breadbasket. Adam’s writing is infectious and satisfying, belonging on a shelf next to Lansdale and Pruitt and easily holding it’s own.
This book is perched upon the cornerstones of memorable. characters, swanky dialogue, and boundary pushing narratives… like if Quentin Tarantino wrote a book. But early Tarantino, before he bought into his own hype, way before he was guest assclown on Lip Sync Battle.
Damn Dirty Apes channels Every Which Way but Loose sprinkled with a little home cooked meth telling a tale of redemption, smut, and legends. Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet is a wonderful and memorable “serial killer vs. serial killers” yarn. Told mainly from the vantage point of the next victim (this is my favorite of the three). And Gator Bait strums on the strings of revenge and racism as a piano player running from trouble finds his way into even more.
Do yourself a favor, go into this read as fresh as possible. Don’t learn to much about it by way of the synopsis, I know, I already set you up there, my bad. Find a dim corner, just bright enough to read, find a comfy chair, not comfy enough to fall asleep in, and find a smooth drink, not strong enough to take you out of the game. Then get lost in these pages. It’ll take effect pretty quick. Get to know Adam Howe, you’re going to hear a lot about him from here on out.
Overall score: 5/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
Listen to this sample reading from the book over at YouTube from the folks at Manor House:
**DID SOMEBODY SAY BONUS?!**
The Eyes of Madness presents “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
“His mother, a devoutly religious woman, had succumbed to the sins of the flesh only once in her life, with a smooth-talking door-to-door bible salesman, who lifted her pocketbook and left her with child. When her son was born, Mrs. Rumsfeld was in no doubt she had angered God; the boy’s affliction was His punishment. Taking solace in the bible, and increasingly the sherry bottle, Mrs. Rumsfeld tried in vain to instill in young Raymond the teachings of the good book. But the boy—already sore with God for the cruel trick He’d played upon him at birth—found himself unable to get past the book of Leviticus.”
In these three novellas of blackly comic crime and creature horror, you’ll go slumming with well-endowed dwarf porn stars, killer badgers, redneck mama’s boys, morbidly obese nymphomaniacs, dumbass dog-nappers, trailer trash Jesus freaks, diarrheic Jack Russell terriers, not-so-wiseguys, mob-movie memorabilia collectors, junkie blackmailers, and giant man-eating Burmese pythons.
OF BADGERS & PORN DWARFS
To pay back a gambling debt and avoid being castrated, washed-up dwarf porn star Rummy Rumsfeld (of Snow White spoof Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Up Your Ass We Go) must overcome a geriatric pederast, redneck pornographers, a morbidly obese nymphomaniac with serious personal hygiene issues, the ghost of his religious zealot mother, a dwarf-eating badger, and George Lucas.
JESUS IN A DOG’S ASS
Dumbass desperadoes Hootie and Poke incur the wrath of a trailer trash church group, not to mention God, when they kidnap a Jack Russell Terrier with the figure of Jesus Christ in its butt.
FRANK, THE SNAKE, & THE SNAKE
After testifying against notorious mob boss “Snake” Cobretti, embittered ex-wiseguy Frankie “The Tin Man” Piscopo emerges from Witness Protection to embark on a disastrous drug deal that leaves him fighting for his life against a giant Burmese python with a taste for Italian-American.
BONUS SHORT STORY
THE MAD BUTCHER OF PLAINFIELD’S CHARIOT OF DEATH
Washed up carny buys Ed Gein’s car hoping to reverse his bad luck. . . but the real horror was just getting revved up . . .
“Punchy was tending bar: a pug-faced ex-scrapper who looked like he lost more than he won, rubbing a glass with a dirty apron like he was trying to wake a genie from a lamp. Maybe grant him the wish of a rematch with the palooka who scrambled his brains.”
I met Adam online, it’s usually how the best stories start, am I right? He’d been checking out my finished-reads list and dropped me a message, suggesting that I may enjoy his work. I wasn’t familiar with his work and I was (still am) new to the review game, I gave him the “yeah sure, I’ll check it out but I’m hella busy right now”. He sent the book over anyway. The end.
Not really. Adam stayed in touch, asked around the book a bit and offered a chance to read his upcoming novella. I jumped on that, owing him a read. And I was blown away by a wonderful read. I was lost to his pages for a couple of hours, realizing that I needed to get on Black Cat Mojo immediately. I glanced through the book a bit and… BOOM. I realized that I had read an Adam Howe joint years before. The Mad Butcher of Plainsfield’s Chariot of Death, in Nightmare Magazine, December 2013 maybe. I don’t know, but I was stoked! I was also embarrassed. For not remembering Adam and for dropping the ball on the hellacious read. Again, I’m not going to really get into the book, you’re going to dig it more knowing as little as possible about it.
Just know that Black Cat Mojo is hilarious, repulsive, caustic and downright rad! These yarns run the gauntlet of a true reading experience. The only common thread amongst these tales is the overwhelming air of menace and the genuine threat that anything can happen. And it does. No one is safe least of all you, the reader. Know this, Adam Howe is not for prudes or the faint of heart, he is for readers who want to enjoy hole heartedly the book they are reading.
Read this, read this now.
“She started teasing up the tarp, flashing Rummy some leg. Literally: one leg. She’d lost the other leg above the knee, probably to diabetes. All that remained was a gnarly stump, baby’s ass-pink at the sawed-off end. The leftover limb—and the other leg, for that matter—was rashed with bedsores and bristling with coarse black hair. She was naked below the waist. Her leg and stump led to a bush like a verminous haystack. The old hag’s labia grinned at Rummy through a rat’s nest of wiry hair, the withered brown lips glistening like something gone spoiled in a fishmonger’s window.”
Overall score: 5/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a digital review copy of these books from the author/ publisher/ publicist on the promise of an honest review. These are my unbiased feelings.
Wait, that’s not right…
Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey Showdown, One Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.
Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.
“It’s an explicit, hard-hitting, twisted funhouse ride into pulpishhorror wrapped loosely in a tattered skein of irreverent, jet black humor. In short, it’s a freakin’ blast.” –Walt Hicks, author of Dirge of the Forgotten
“Every page ratchets up the tension another notch even as it descends deeper and deeper into terrible darkness. Out of all the books I’ve read for Ginger Nuts of Horror, this is definitely the most intense.” — David Dubrow, author of The Blessed Man and the Witch
“With Die Dog Or Eat the Hatchet, Adam Howe hasn’t written one of my favorite books of the year, he’s actually written three of my favorites. Stories that are tight, toned, and genre-confounding. Horror fans and crime fans are going to come to blows over who gets to claim Howe as one of their own, but they’re both going to be wrong because Howe’s his own thing.” – Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Mercy House
“The recipe for Adam Howe’s DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET is: Two parts Joe Lansdale, One part Justified, and a heavy dose of WTF. The result is a swampy cocktail darker than any backwoods hayride, stronger than the meanest Sasquatch, and crazier than anything you’ll find chicken-fried at your local state fair.”—Eryk Pruitt, author of Hashtag and Dirtbags
“Adam Howe proves with the three stories in this book that he can basically write anything. And write it very well indeed. To summarise: A three novella collection that you absolutely must have in your collection. I give this one the highest possible recommendation that I can.” -Nev, Confessions of a Reviewer
“Adam Howe’s “Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet,” is equal parts terror and fun, his dark comedic voice dances through each of the works in this collection to create engaging stories filled with bars, dames, rabid dogs, and an ape with one hell of a right hook.”(Nathan Crazybear/Splatterpunk Zine)
“Once again this author has sucked me into the darkness of his stories and unleashed the twisted, disgusting and stomach churning madness that I come to expect. In fact, I would have been very disappointed if this book was not even more mind-blowing than Black Cat Mojo. And he did not disappoint. Hats off to Mr Howe for creating this magnificent novella of pure horror. I would definitely recommend this to readers of horror and make sure you buckle up as you will be in for the most twisted ride of your life!” -Crime Book Junkie
“I’m pretty certain that whatever genre you like to read, be it pulp, noir, horror, anything really, you will find something to enjoy here. It’s fast paced, action packed and brilliantly written. Comet Press has got a diamond on their hands! 5 stars” -Adrian Shotbolt
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If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Adam Howe, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.