Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 170,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
You must be logged in to read full text of reviews.
> Logged-in users can make lists, save searches, e-mail, and more!
> Click My Profile to create a username & password
> Try a free trial or subscribe today
July 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Great Reads
Why in blue blazes would you want to pick up one of these festering objects, even with tweezers? Well, there are a lot of reasons. These books push you around, get your blood boiling, and challenge you as a reader to find meaning, even art, in the darkest of darks. Too highfalutin’ for you? Okay, maybe you’ve just read 15 cozy cat mysteries and need to sandblast your palate. Or maybe you’ve just had a visit from the in-laws. Hey, don’t be ashamed. We all get that urge to roll around in the filth and muck now and again, even if it’s just so we can remind ourselves that we don’t have to stay there.
Here are five of my “favorites.” Grab the smelling salts and the closest packet of book-banning stickers—away we go!
The Bighead, by Edward Lee
Take two predictably sexy nymphomaniacs, strand them in Appalachia, introduce two redneck serial disembowelers, and, just for fun, add in “a deformed, woods-rompin’, brain-eatin’, pussy-bustin’ retart” called the Bighead, and you’re in for a backwoods vomit-fest that makes Deliverance look like Romper Room. And just when you think it can’t get worse? The colostomy-bag scene—dear god, the colostomy-bag scene.
The Circle, by Bentley Little
Little is a hell of a good writer when he’s got his head screwed on straight, but this bouncy little ditty reads as if he scribbled it during the height of a 150-degree fever, was afraid to reread it, and so published it as-is with every speck of revolting insanity intact. It begins with a small boy pooping diamonds (hey, that’s fun!) and then pooping out a woman’s head (less fun, maybe?) to use as a bludgeon. It’s a 50-car pileup you cannot look away from.
The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum
If you’re a Ketchum reader, there’s about a 50 percent chance that, after finishing one of his books, you wrap it in tinfoil, duct-tape it shut, and then bury it in your basement. This, his most infamous work, tells of two girls trapped in the house of a troubled woman who lets the neighborhood children torture them. Oh, and did I mention it’s based on a true story? Now let’s all go outside and lie down in the middle of the road.
Goth: A Novel of Horror, by Otsuichi
Ah, Otsuichi. What is your deal, you crazy nut? In this collection of six sicko stories, two blank-slate Japanese teens investigate various freakish murderers, if by “investigate” you mean “watch” and sometimes “assist”—most notably a serial killer who prefers to keep his victim’s hands. The teens’ unbothered response is, well, you know, extremely bothersome. Bonus delight: this was released as YA!
Prison Pit: Book 2, by Johnny Ryan
Did I read Book 1? Yeahhhhh, no. No, I didn’t. But, as luck would have it, this graphic graphic novel landed—kersplat!—on my desk for review, and before you know it, I was swept away into a magical wonderland of marathon defecations, nonstop eviscerations, maggoty lacerations, and blood-and-entrails condensations. And that’s before we even get to the rape of the “ladydactyl.” Even my trash-eating dog runs yelping away from this one.
> Try a free trial or subscribe today