It’s WEREWOLF WEEK on Horror Bound! Why? Because WHY NOT?! Werewolves never get as much love as Zombies or Vampires and we’re here to bring them more attention. All of this week we’ll be pumping out werewolf themed content. Join us all over social media as we celebrate!
I’ve been a longtime fan and listener of the This is Horror podcast hosted by Michael David Wilson and Bob Pastorella (if you are a lover of horror fiction, I’d highly recommend checking it out). They cover the gamut of the craft, from writing to publishing and editing. Wilson and Pastorella have a knack for interviewing. They always prepare excellent questions but aren’t afraid of taking the show in a different direction at the guest’s discretion. It’s a well-oiled machine and if you listen to one episode, you’ll understand the pacing and tone of almost every other episode…almost. Max Booth III is the exception.
Max’s stream of consciousness wit and humor are always a fun break from the mostly serious discussion of literature. I’ve always wanted to pick up one of his books to see if his personality transferred over to the page and he did not disappoint.
The main inspiration for this book was Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s 2012 horror flick Resolution. Essentially, it’s a movie about one man’s attempt to save his drug addicted friend by chaining him to a wall. There’s more to it than that, but I’m not about to spoil a movie during a book review. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s recommendation number two.
Anyway, before I get into a plot summary, let’s start with Andy Sciazko’s cover. It’s a silhouette of a werewolf drinking a beer. It’s awesome. What more do you need? Sandwiched between the blurbs, but before quotes from Stephen Graham Jone’s Mongrels and An American Werewolf in London, Booth dedicates this book to someone who’d be willing to kill him…I’ll admit, I’m not the smartest bulb, but I think Booth is saying that he would hate being a ravenous monster that kills indiscriminately – I think!
The book opens with Ted sitting outside his mother in law’s house mulling over whether he should go inside, shoot his spouse, then kill himself. It’s clear that there is issue within the marriage, but we don’t get specifics. While contemplating the murder, he receives a call from his childhood friend Justin. Justin needs someone to talk to – “we’re talking life or death here, dude. Life or motherfucking death.” After some consideration, Ted acquiesces and decides to drive over. And for the next three-quarters of the book, Justin attempts to convince Teddy to shoot him in the heart with a silver bullet before midnight.
It’s impressive how much Booth accomplished within the constraints. I mean, most of the book is a single conversation in one location, but it works well. The character voices are distinct, the comedic timing is on point, and the dialogue keeps a steady pace, but - as cheesy as it sounds - what really holds the book together is the friendship between the two main characters. And yes, I just threw up in my mouth as I wrote that. I get the feeling that most people who read this book will be reminded of a friend of their own. Maybe one they haven’t spoken to in a while? Maybe one who could use a phone call? Maybe one who’s currently chained to a ship anchor in a dilapidated basement with a bullseye haphazardly drawn in sharpie over their heart? Who knows. All I know is that I goddamn loved this book and would highly recommend it. I give it a 5/5.
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