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  • Writer's pictureChristina Pfeiffer

6-9-24 Christina Critiques

Happy Sunday! I only have ten reviews today. Slacker 101, am I right? I have a bit of everything; police procedural, zombies, necro-motels, dwarfs on a death mission and their trusty oath writer, demons and portals to hell, fancy new weight loss ideas, and splatter westerns! I told you, a bit of everything.


Let’s get into them.


 

MEAN BUSINESS ON NORTH GANSON STREET

By S. Craig Zahler


S. Craig Zahler may be a familiar name but not as an author. This gent has written and directed Dragged Across Concrete, Bone Tomahawk, and Brawl in Cell Block 99. And he’s in a metal band. I watched Dragged Across Concrete and fell in love with his gritty, oppressive directing… well, his novels are even better!


Jules Bettinger didn’t technically kill someone, but he played a part in it, and he has been reassigned to Victory, Missouri. The detective is met with not only disdain from his fellow co-workers but complete and utter disrespect. When cops start dropping like pigeons, Bettinger must work together with those that are lax in their loyalty.


I’m telling you, friends. I read 403 pages in less than 2 days. I couldn’t put it down! Between the realistic dialogue, twists and turns, and sheer freaking audacity of Zahler to kill off people I was emotionally attached to, you would be insane not to pick this one up. Did I, halfway through this book, go and immediately buy the rest of his back catalog? Indeed, I did. So, prepare for an author binge in the next few months.


Perfection.


100%. A top ten read as well. A DOUBLE HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.


Order Here:


 

ZOMBIE DUCKS

By Candace Nola


Who doesn’t remember playing with rubber ducks in the tub? They entertain for bathtime and are in every costume imaginable. But can they save lives?


Kane loves bathtime, especially with his Momma. When an unknown toxin that is possibly airborne, infects non-human objects, Kane puts together an army… of rubber ducks. Will they be enough to save him, his Momma, and Dad?


This is a cute, bloody, quick paced read. It also stars one Eric Butler (known around the parts I frequent as Pockets) and … me. In a nightgown. Kane is an adorable six-year-old that refuses to just stand around waiting to the grown-ups to save him. And it’s a wild 40 pages.


A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 5/5.


Order Here:


 

MOTEL STYX

By Michelle Von Eschen and Jonathan Butcher

Release: June 22nd, 2024


Imagine quiet horror writer, Michelle Von Eschen, and gorehound, Splatterpunk Award nominee, Jonathan Butcher, teaming up for one of the most remarkable novels I have read in years.


Ellis just lost his wife and was left with a note that stated, “Don’t come looking for me.” He ends up looking for her at Motel Styx, a hotel for… well… necrophiliacs. He has a mole on the inside, Veronika, but can she be trusted? When blood starts to run in a motel full of dead people, questions will start to rise… as will the body count.


Eschen and Butcher combine grief, sex, shame, toxic relationships, and acceptance of one’s true self no matter how ugly has shown they both are truly writing powerhouses, either separate or together. And how in the hell did they make necrophilia kinda (definitely) hot? Obviously, I’m asking for a friend because I’m way too classy for that. This novel has heart and heart ache, fear of letting go and losing control but more importantly it’s a novel that will stay with you for all the right reasons.


It’s brilliant and it ends up on my Top Ten for the year. And it will your list too. I can guarantee it like Motel Styx can guarantee a cold bed … mate.


A DOUBLE HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.


Order Here:

 

MANSLAYER (Gotrek and Felix #9)

by Nathan Long


Boy, oh boy, was this a wild one! And one of the longest in the series.


Felix and Gotrek are walking and killing when they realize their friend, Makiasson is now an engineer at the Aldtorf University. While working on new cannons for The Spirit of Gurni (the flying ship), Cultists are attempting to sabotage the school. Old friends and lovers share feelings almost two decades too late while family is torn apart. Could this be the end of our beloved heroes?!


No, it’s not. Because there are seven more books to read. I am finding myself loving Long’s writing a bit more than King’s. (Please don’t tell the nerds of Warhammer, they will come for my head.) There is something that is so cinematic about his writing (SURPRISE, he was a screenwriter). But the last third of the book was pure action. My heart was racing, and I was worried about our BFFs, Gotrek and Felix. I will warn you, this one starts slowly but let it happen, enjoy the slow burn because you won’t be able to catch your breath after it goes crazy.


Still loving it more than I do at an all you can eat buffet 5/5.


Order Here:

 

THE GATEWAY

By Z. Martin


This is my first read of Martin’s and I have a complaint, but you will have to wait to read my bitching.


Jonas is out in the wilderness just trying to leave the world behind. But when he meets Eli, his entire life changes. Eli has a book that will bring about the end of the world and it’s not going to be pretty. How far can Jonas run not only from his past, the book, and the end of the world, but from the nightmares that haunt him?


It’s 88 pages. I WANT MORE! That’s my complaint. The way Martin weaves the characters into a sinister band of brothers in pain fascinated me. My biggest take away was, do the characters deserve what happens because of their past? Isn’t everyone due forgiveness eventually?


A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 5/5.


Order Here:

 

VORACIOUS

By Wrath James White


Lelani wants to be beautiful, take a few pounds off here and there. After Dr. Ebersol refers her to Dr. Trevor for a new, super expensive treatment, she gets the body she wants but can’t sustain. … literally. When it is revealed, the new treatment has been used on other patients and they begin to exhibit the same behaviors, all hell breaks loose. Is there a way to reverse the procedure or will the patients die with the “perfect” body.


WJW delivers a very upsetting but relevant social commentary in this novella. What lengths are we willing to go for the ideal body that society forces on us almost 24/7? And what does that translate to for our children? Are the drug companies fully responsible for disasters like this or is it on the consumer as they have full knowledge of the possible side effects?


A gritty look at beauty’s unfortunate standards.


A DEFINITE RECOMMEND 4/5.


Order Here:


 

A Splatterpunk Western One Shot Issue 1-4

“SWALLOWER OF SHADES” (Issue 1)

by J.M. Brandt - writer and Tom Napolitano - artist


When an ancient artifact is won is a card game, a sheriff and a ragtag group of side show performers will realize there will be hell to pay… with their blood. 5/5.



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“THE BONE TRIBE” (Issue 2)

by R.K. Latch - writer and Arjuna Susini - artist


A band of bank robbers, the Badlands Hellraisers, must split up, with one group going to Mexico and the other to Marigold. Unfortunately, Marigold holds more than the doctor they desperately need but a curse they don’t. 5/5. (My favorite of the bunch.)


Order Here:



 

“THREE DAYS TO DEATH IS HERE” (Issue 3)

By Scott Bryan Wilson - writer and Rob Gaughran - artist


True Crime Goodnight, or TC, must continuously kill family or friends of those he has previously murdered. Not only that, but he must get to where Tina the Trigger has gone and to Jesus Christ Brown has a tonic he desperately needs. 5/5. (The most graphically illustrated.)


Order Here:


 


“RESURRECTION HILL” (Issue 4)

By Michelle Garza - writer and Daniel Franco - artist


Mel shot his stepson in an accident - he was distracted by a vulture. He takes his dead stepson to an old healer on resurrection hill but not everything is meant to come back if you love them. 5/5.



Order Here:

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