Tag Archives: David Lynch

The Mind Is a Razorblade

I like my fiction on the strange side. Sometimes, really strange. The Mind Is a Razorblade, by Max Booth III, is damned strange. And now I’m beginning to think Booth is a little strange as well.

That’s a good thing.

The book opens with a man waking on the muddy banks of a river. He is naked and there are two dead bodies and a police car present. He has absolutely no idea who he is, who the dead are and what the hell lead to this scene. Stealing a coat from one of the deceased, he makes his way on a quest for identity and to solve the puzzle of who he is and why he ended up here.

He arrives in the city to see roaming groups of deranged individuals, jabbering crazies, and the Harvies, gruesome specters of death that only some can see, and that seem to dog our hero’s every step. He encounters people from his past, even though he doesn’t remember them. He discovers things about the present and the past and finds out that not everyone is who—or what—they seem. He hides from ghosts and demon gods. He also has the ability to blow shit up with his mind when he gets really angry.

All of these things (and brain spiders) are the ingredients to a stylistic and extremely bizarre noir-venture that reads like a David Lynch directed version of Memento—but with brain spiders and bunny slippers. It’s almost ridiculous until the grit settles and then it gets tense and brutal.

A man with no memory and thus no identity is the most pitiful and terrifying of characters and Booth nails his journey with a deft hand. When he encounters people he knew or who know him, the reaction is rendered with a sense of realism that is so well done, you can almost smell the exasperation.

Having read Booth’s novel Toxicity, I was sure I knew what to expect here but I was wrong. While I loved this book as much as I did the other, they’re quite differing creatures. Wherein Toxicity was funny and smart and almost satirical in its dissection of segments of society and cultural expectations, The Mind Is a Razorblade is a violent and bleak film unwittingly shot by a dashboard camera in an abandoned police car. It has a grimy vibe that permeates and settles on the skin like ashes or oil. I mean this as a compliment.

The Mind Is a Razorblade is available through Kraken Press.

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Bleed

With his debut novel, Bleed, Ed Kurtz gives us a premise that, while not entirely original, is handled with a deftness of vision and execution so as to make you forget that you’ve ever read something similar before.

Walter Blackmore has left the band Rainbow and is about to…oh wait, that’s not it.

Ah, here we go…Walter Blackmore has bought a small cottage in the hopes of fixing it up and making an “engagement-wedding” gift of it for his girlfriend. Of course the house is haunted—kind of. There is a strange stain on the hallway ceiling. It’s red and still wet. As Walter goes about assessing and taking care of minor repairs, the stain continues to grow. His girlfriend is thrilled with the house, not so much with the icky stain…especially after she sees it eat a bug.

The stain gets larger and less like a stain, more like a thing. Appendages and teeth and noises. It’s hungry and I bet you, horror fan, can guess what for. Walter begins to act less like his old self and more like a man possessed. Things get out of control and violence ensues. The stain evolves into something more with every passing hour, and while repulsed, Walter discovers it is something he has always needed. Maybe.

The prose is lean and sharp. The dialogue and characters are believable, even given all the bizarro madness that surrounds them. Bleed reads as though Willard created a demonic baby with Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and David Lynch served as midwife. It’s a devilish good time, but you’ll want to wear an apron.

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