For Shaun Hupp’s latest release he has gathered his back catalogue of horror stories (excluding The Jackal series) into one volume. If, like me, you have read Hupp’s work before this, it's a great chance to re-familiarise yourself with his writing and have the collection in one book. For anyone not familiar with his work, this would be a great place to start with a collection for such good value.
The Collection consists of four stories :
I Will Make You Love Me – An Extreme Tale of Sex, Lies & Duct Tape
Megan Weber left Nick, her older boyfriend and ex teacher, when she realised that she had feelings for women. She thought that he was over their separation, until twelve months later when she wakes up after being drugged with his gun in her mouth. After Nick had risked his career, left his wife after Megan had told him that she had loved him, he was ready to pop the question, only for her to leave him in the lurch for another woman. This is a gritty, tense story of obsession and betrayal . The story builds well, some great dialogue and a killer of an ending.
The Worst Kind Of Monster
A young boy, Dustin, is disturbed in his sleep by sounds coming from below the house in the basement. He tries to convince his parents who send him back to bed refusing to listen to his make-belief. Taking his trusted flashlight, he goes searching when he hears the noises again, only to find something a lot more shocking than he could have possibly imagined. This is a great story, with good, vivid descriptions. Some of the content could be described as controversial, but it adds to the story and isn’t over the top. Expect some brutal material.
Gwen wakes up with her boyfriend, Hank in a run down apartment. Both of them are bound by their arms and legs by an unknown captor. He has one objective – to record the dying words of a loving couple. After realisation that their captor is the taxi driver that picked them up after an anniversary meal together, things start to unfold. Revelations are discovered, and it becomes apparent that this killer has a strange phobia. One which ultimately leads to Gwen managing to escape alive. After the incident she moves into a new home, trying to put the incident behind her, only for her nightmares to return. Again, a great story with some great plot twists and dialogue.
Pound – An Extreme Horror Tale of Sex, Blood & Fast Food
Where do I start with this? This was the only book in the collection that I hadn’t previously read, and definitely my favourite. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to being shocked, but this one SHOCKED me.
This book has layered plot lines. One, about a lonely woman - Trish. Cheating on her husband, a successful business man for the fifth time, with, whoever threw her the most attention from the collection of talent in her office. The other is a bit of a loser called Matt. A connoisseur of fast food, and partial to internet porn. When two strangers turn up at their respective houses, a brutal and shocking series of circumstances begin to unfold. There is a constant switching of character perspectives, that I have seen writers try before, but struggle to pull off without being confusing, Hupp pulls this off effortlessly.
In addition to the four books, Hupp introduces a wrap-around situation between the stories to connect them. Emrys Sarlic is a man on a subway train, he has tales to tell. His only need is to find people to follow his power of suggestion. In my opinion, a really nifty way of bringing the collection together to flow into each other, and a genius climax to close the collection.
In summary; For me, this really highlights the strengths in Hupp’s writing ability and shows that he has a diverse and sometimes scary imagination.
In my opinion, his two best strengths are his ability to take a fairly simple scenario and manage to shape it into something twisted and scary. His character dialogue is faultless. The other, is that after all is said, you read his stories and you are compelled and disgusted, however the reader cannot deny the underlying tone of dark, dark humour that he manages to interlace with each and every piece of work.
As a collection, my rating 5/5 – Just go get it, you won’t regret it. Great job Mr Shaun Hupp.