March, 2014; $4.99 e-book Smashwords.com
Reviewed by: Michael S. Albert MD
The title is from a Charles Manson drawing which is the first clue as to the depraved collection of stories by Jake Anderson that are found within the pages of this single author collection. It is four short stories and the novella, carbon offset. Overall this e-book is a short read with each story taking a radically different view of serial killers; their methods, morality and motivations. My favorite in the collection is carbon offset where we meet the very quirky Jim Lincoln, a highly motivated and unorthodox spokesman for Clean Earth Action. Jim is a very disturbed character who takes his job and recruitment efforts for his environmental group to the extreme, thereby causing quite a bit of mayhem along the way. The author has a minor mix up confusing Billy Idol and Bill Joel with regard to a song referenced in the story but it is an otherwise well told tale with nice character development, peculiar personalities interacting to create an interesting plot and enough blood and gore to keep any horror fan happy.
If you enjoy sudden plot twists and unexpected endings you will enjoy The Hacktivist. This story is about the second American Revolution that pits futuristic rebels and assassins against the corporatocracy. It sports a rather cunning and cutting female assassin who has a penchant for collecting “male members” from the fat cat ruling class she is sent to execute. One victim has a quite a surprise in store for her.
The remaining three stories mix horror with variable doses of sci-fi. Futuristic chain saw killers blend with post-modern gamers in Tonight at 10! To this reviewer the story seemed a disturbed blend of the movies Gamer, Groundhog Day and the Texas chain saw massacre. While cannibals and time machines can be found lurking in the pages of Cannibal Kingdom.
The final story The Birth Mark plug-in deals with a tech savvy deranged killer with high end computer skills who’s tracking a high-schooler with the help of micro-drones and micro-chips. He is determined to collect very specific bits of tissue to add to his larger macabre mosaic. His demented delusions cause him to build a flesh shaped monument that becomes a living idol to him.
The reader who enjoys this genre delivered in a nonconventional manner should be pleased with this collection. Most of the stories have a futuristic flavor to them and reside on the fringes of conventional horror stories. Readers who enjoy gaming and computer technology and who like a dash of sci-fi mixed with their horror will especially appreciate this collection. In a genre that has the tendency to slip into formula, this collection is as refreshing as is it unsettling. If you want a quick infusion of horror to help pass a summer afternoon or to keep you company on a dark lonely night, be sure to check out these stories by Jake Anderson.