Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez

I admit I was slightly let down by this book. That's not saying it doesn't deserve its reputation because it does. This is a horrifying book, but it's not the masterpiece that Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door is (the book that pretty much all of the "esteemed" hardcore horror novels are compared to). There are a few flaws. Not having read the Leisure edition of this book I really can't comment on that version, but the Deadite Press version dubbed the "Author's Preferred Edition" had a few flaws that really grated on my nerves. There are two Chapter Thirteens (although the second Chapter Thirteen contains what should have been Chapter Fourteen material so the names are the same even though the contents are different) and a formatting error at the end of Chapter Twenty-One. I know Deadite isn't exactly perfect, but come on now and get with the program. This is just sloppy and lazy. Surely the author can't prefer this?

As for the actual story... well, this is what it is about:

Lisa and her husband Brad are going off on a romantic getaway. Lisa has discovered that she is pregnant and she is going to use this getaway as a means to tell Brad the big news. But things go horribly wrong when Brad is arrested and Lisa is kidnapped by men who want to torture, rape and then ultimately kill her in a snuff film. But Lisa is a survivor and perhaps the most horrible atrocity in this book is the one she finds herself committing in order to survive...

The first half of this book reminded me of the climax of most Laymon novels. All of the shit just seems to hit the fan at once and it is very harrowing. Tough to read. However, the second half of the book sort of wanders around a bit and mostly rides off the adrenaline of the first half. Again, it's not a bad book, but you just have to plow through some slower reading in the second half and some peculiar errors for a so-called "Author's Preferred Edition."

I do recommend this for people who think they can take it. It's human horror... maybe not at its finest (that's The Girl Next Door), but certainly it's human horror worth noting and reading.

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