Two of my favorite bizarro writers. Jordan Krall and William 'CAPLOCKS' Pauley III, will be joining forces this year to bring you a stellar duel novella from The Library of Bizarro Horror. I wanted to take a chance to give you my quick reviews on a few of their books. I'll do King Scratch and DOOM MAGNETIC! this week and Fistful of Feet and The Brothers Crunk next week.
By Jordan Krall
I think Jordan Krall has added his own sub-genre to the amazing Bizarro genre and I call it squid-noir. King Scratch is my Exhibit A.
King Scratch is a story about the seedy world of moonshine smuggling in the ever seedy New Jersey. This pulpy noir nightmare begins with the main character Jim and his lady friend, Peggy, in the middle of some good old fashioned screwing when Jim’s moonshining ex-father-in-law calls. Red Henry (Jim’s father-in-law) babbles a string of nonsense at Jim that happens to stir up an adventure in the making. Jim’s ex-wife Laura calls right after her father and asks Jim to check on the crazy old coot. What follows is pure chaos as only Jordan Krall can unleash. Car crashes, penile insertions, rape, pancakes, men in stove pipe hats, double crosses, psychopathic generals, more squid parts than a calamari processing plant, and the most repulsive moonshine ever are all high lights of this quick reading novella.
To add to the pulpy feel of the story Krall switches back and forth between 1st and 3rd person narratives as he follows Jim, who narrates his own story, and Black Boned Keith, a man following Jim through Krall’s greasy New Jersey town. Wicked visions and hellish reality mix as both men rush towards Red Henry’s home/ moonshine sill. The story twists and warps all the way to the conclusion dragging you through puddles of squid goo to get there.
The novella also features four short appendixes that are all different and equally twisted. Each simultaneously fills in story and twists it even more. The one with General Entwhistle is one of the coolest things I’ve ever read, hands down.
At this point I’m going to admit this novella isn’t for everyone but those that it is for will dig the hell outta it! Krall is an absolute master of the depraved, and he can describe a scene that should make your stomach twist and knot like some people can snap their fingers. There in lies this man’s talent, he is a damn fine writer and can make any story damn good. This is dark twisted pulpy noir story, and a damn fine one at that. I’m a fan of Jordan Krall and his writing, and King Scratch is just one of the reasons why. And, damn.
By William Pauley III
With DOOM MAGNETIC! William Pauley III creates a fast-paced bizarro space western adventure. A space cowboy, Maundin, has followed a mysterious voice’s instructions and stolen a highly valuable purple television. A very powerful assassin, Qoser, with a cue ball eye and a small army of meat eating monsters known as Mopes is tracking Maundin across the entire galaxy in hopes of returning the purple television. Maundin gets the drop on the evil Qoser and manages to saw his head from his body before escaping. However, Qoser is a badass of the highest degree and possesses the power to open The DOOM MAGNETIC, a powerful and mysterious void, and a simple decapitation isn’t going to slow him down for long.
So with that DOOM MAGNETIC is off and running in what I can only describe as the best action movie from the 80’s that never really got made. Pauley creates a massive universe filled with space traveling jalopies, super hot chicks, incompetent doctors, floating state/ planets, stale smoke torture chambers, plenty of beer, coliseum battles, and Ziggy F’n Stardust. In short this is a highly accessible work of bizarro fiction that I have suggested to several bizarro-virgins. In long, this is a quick-paced, quick-witted, easy-to-read, non-stop-entertaining space western epic that will keep you chuckling all the way through. Highly recommend to fans of sci/fi, bizarro, action, and bizarro.
You can snag your very own, non squid smellin' copy of King Scratch here.
You can find space/western adventure DOOM MAGNETIC! here.