Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Johnny Gruesome by Greg Lamberson

Johnny Gruesome a novel that EVERY horror fan should read. Greg Lamberson has crafted a fast paced revenge tale that borrows from some of the genres most timeless conventions and creates a novel that is filled with tons of original adrenaline driven energy.

Johnny Grissom -Johnny Gruesome to most- is your typical heavy metal high school kid. He drives fast, parties hard and fights often. He likes to drink, get high and he adores Romero’s “Holy Trinity”. Basically, he is the cool kid that everyone loves to hate. All of that changes when Johnny’s car is discovered in Willow Creek with Johnny’s lifeless body inside. Then strange things start to happen- members of the quiet town of Red Hill are showing up dead and it appears that the town’s undead outcast may be involved.

Johnny Gruesome is the literary equivalent of an all-out air guitar session of unearthly proportions. It is pure rock and roll excess laced with the hardcore gore of 80’s horror. Johnny is violent, reckless and extremely funny. At his funniest he is reminiscent of Freddy Kruger and at his most brutal he seems more like the soulless Leatherface. In short, he is an amalgamation of all of those horror icons that haunted our youth while still retaining his own identity.

The book is an extremely easy read because it grabs you by the throat and throws you right into the action and keeps you pinned down until the final page. Lamberson knows how to keep the pacing tight without sacrificing the story. He can graphically describe the beheading of a young boy and then delicately delve into the inner emotional turmoil of teenagers. These two extremes take place in the span of about 20 pages with a very fluid and smooth style that really makes Lamberson’s style unique and approachable. Despite the length, Johnny Gruesome is easily “one sitting” material.

It comes as no surprise that Greg Lamberson is also an accomplished film director. His writing has a distinct cinematic quality to it- paying attention to the little details. Instead of simply mentioning a gym light, Lamberson describes the shape of the light fixture and the sound the halogen makes as it sparks to life. He doesn’t simply tell the story; he brings you into it by painting such a vivid picture. This makes the humor and the horror all the better!

Greg Lamberson has given us something truly special with Johnny Gruesome. He created an extremely likeable and funny villain in Johnny and told his story with a remarkable attention to detail. Lamberson is certainly an author to keep an eye out for.

Highly recommended!

Go pick it up here!

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