Barry Hoffman

Splatterpunk, 40 pages, limited to 300 signed copies
Review by Rick Hipson

Strong characterization is Interloper’s bread and butter and here Barry puts the focus of his tale on two young women with a priest thrown in for good measure. Oh, and if you’re the type to cringe and ready your senses against an attack of preachy prose, you need not worry. Barry skillfully uses the priest as a vehicle for conjuring varying points of reason that allows one to adjust to whichever mindset they feel like rooting for in the story. Barry Hoffman walks readers along a thin, sharp line of good and evil with the best of them and, as regular fans of Barry might expect, Interloper is a sexually charged book where nothing is too carnal, too perverse.

You’ll be squirming in your seat one way or the other as you flip through pages that all but drip with deadly seduction.

Without warning, readers are thrown head first into the fire as we’re introduced to Diana, a homosexual hipster out for a good time at a lesbian night club. The fun stops short as the club bursts into flames and Diana’s world crashes down, taking her lover with it and giving birth to something far more dangerous than anything she could have imagined. Her her life is empty again until eventually the dreams reach out to her, posing as windows to tragedies yet unfolded. The dreams force Diana to question her faith in God, humanity and herself most of all.

Burdened with the choice to leave things be or to intervene, Diana risks losing her mind and soul to save lives she never knew. Eventually her dreams are accepted as a gift and an opportunity to get the salvation and purpose she always craved even if it meant jerking off to greyed out photos and putting an end to her shallow trysts. And then along comes Shanicha, her 16 year old counterpart, hell bent on making sure the people in Diana’s dreams get what deaths they have coming if only just to fuck with Diana’s head and prevail as winner of their most intimate contest.

Barry Hoffman is clearly at his best when his characters are at their worst, and here we have one very bad character doing what only she was born to do. About the only quibble I managed to muster up is a few occasions when the writing seemed almost a bit too aware of its self as though the author was self conscious about making sure to get specific points across to his readers, which he did in spades so maybe it was just me.

Then again, the occasional typo – through no fault of the author, mind you – probably didn’t help keep me as fully connected to the story as I would have liked to have been.

Minor quibble aside, what we’ve ultimately got here is a lean, mean dose of what happens when reality is placed in the hands of evil and altered through her adversary’s worst nightmares. Interloper does a fine job of setting the stage for the “first” official novel in the series, the Bram Stoker nominated novel, Born Bad. And hey, when bad characters are this much fun, it’s a sin to have to put them down and thankfully in this case the final page is just the beginning.

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