Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Bloody Thing After Another

Title: One Bloody Thing After Another

Publisher: ECW Press

Pub Date: 05/01/2010

ISBN: 9781550229165

Author: Joey Comeau

Category: FICTION - ADULT: Horror & Ghost: Horror

Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackie’s mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesn't know what to do but she doesn't let that stop her. She picks up the biggest rock she can carry and puts it through the window of a car. Smash. She intends to leave before the police arrive, but they're early.

Ann is Jackie’s best friend, but she’s got problems of her own. Her mother is chained up in the basement. How do you bring that up in casual conversation? "Oh, sorry I've been so distant, Jackie. My mother has more teeth than she’s supposed to, and she won't eat anything that’s already dead." Ann and her sister Margaret don't have much of a choice here. Their mother needs to be fed. It isn't easy but this is family. It’s not supposed to be easy. It'll be okay as long as Margaret and Ann still have each other.

Add in a cantankerous old man, his powerfully stupid dog, a headless ghost, a lesbian crush and a few unsettling visits from Jackie’s own dead mother, and you'll find that One Bloody Thing After Another is a different sort of horror novel from the ones you're used to. It’s as sad and funny as it is frightening, and it is as much about the way families rely on each other as it is about blood being drooled on the carpet. Though, to be honest, there is a lot of blood being drooled on the carpet.

I received an ARC of One Bloody Thing After Another from the publisher via NetGalley. Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review, which is my personal opinion upon reading the galley.

This book wasn't what I expected it to be. I guess I was thinking along the lines of a psychological thriller, or a Jodi Piccoult-esque tale of teenage girls facing the horrifying realities of life.

Not so much...

One Bloody Thing After Another really is a horror story. I found it disturbing and confusing and horrifying. It's sad and frightening and well, to be honest, I didn't find it at all funny. After having read it, I've come to the conclusion that this genre really isn't my cup of tea. Having said that, I had no trouble reading it right through to the end because it was a page-turner; I had to know what happened next.

The storyline of One Bloody Thing After Another is very involving, and I would have liked to see a bit less blood on the carpet, and a bit more development of the characters, relationships and issues. To me, this book seemed a little underdone. Each of the three main characters and their stories has so much potential; any one of Jackie, Ann or Charlie could have been developed further and carried off an entire novel. In this book, even with the three interweaving tales, it didn't quite feel like a whole novel.

One Bloody Thing After Another ultimately wasn't satisfying for me.

1 comment:

Sandy Fussell said...

I really like this review - although the book doesn't appeal to me personally - I'm always attracted to the suspense and darkness of horror but run away at the storylines - becuase ultimately I like a book that makes me laugh or transports me to another - but not too scary - world.

But I really like how you reviewed the book with your own personal opinion up front but balanced it out with what others might see or be looking for.