by Weston Ochse
Cover Art: Natalie Niebur
My good friend Weston Ochse, gave me this book to read complete with autograph.
Knowing full well about my site, he must have realized that I would review it.
Either he's brave or confident.
That's Because any of you who are long time visitors to this site are well aware that
we reviewers here have absolutely no compunction what so ever in trashing the work of a friend - if we think it sucks.
We love our friends, we want to remain friends, we want to have good times
with them. But if they write crap, we are going to say so and no amount of free drinks or books will change that.
That is not to say that we won't accept the free food, beer and books, we just
won't let our opinion be swayed by such offerings and no amount of such stuff is going to change that.
. . .
Money might change that.
No one has offered money for a good review but I never said they couldn't.
I think I want to keep the lines of communication open on that one.
At any rate, all I got from Weston was this little chapbook which clearly
costs more than the paperbacks you get at the local bookstore. At $8.99
about two bucks more. At about 33 pages, I kind of question the value
for money here.
Then again, I've read thick tomes of crap and still felt ripped off.
"Kimo warned him with a raised eyebrow, the same eyebrow that had made death
NATURAL SELECTION however,
with its minute number of pages, delivers big time.
Am I serious?
Tell you what: I read and watch Horror all the time. I live Horror literature
and even have my own Horror website (this one, you nabob!). I read Horror books before going to bed. Read them until
I get sleepy and I always have pleasant dreams (my
version of pleasant dreams, that is).
NATURAL SELECTION gave me nightmares and I'm not EVEN kidding.
This tale is about Kimo, a bouncer at a Florida goth bar that the young fresh
goth boys and girls hunger to get into. There he lets in the ones he feels
can handle - or want to handle - the possibilities of the evening. He
keeps out the pretenders, the poseurs; the false goths who are merely
wannabee tourists of the night. He knows that innocents pretend to be
worldy and that the world can and will eat them alive - in as painful
a way as possible.
Kimo has a past: a very evil and very - urgently - violent one. One
that the young goths who wait for hours outside the club cannot even begin
Once Kimo lets them inside the club, they are watched by the electronic eyes
of The Members. A group of local politicians, business owners, and respected
citizens of the local community, The Members watch the youthful crowd
with tired eyes, looking for the next entree for their sadistic games.
These are games of torture and maiming, all carried out on the premises
in a private room.
Kimo, having had his fill of such banal deviancy, sits on his stool at the edge
of the club and at the edge of his own humanity. As this tale begins,
tonight is the night that, one direction or the other, Kimo will be pushed
off that edge.
There are powerful forces at work on another world. Their activities, their
very means of survival, make the people who belong to The Members, washed
out shadows of reality. These creatures are The Masters, and their hunger
for pain is no illusion - no affectation of jaded sensibilities. The Masters,
impossibly stylized caricatures of ourselves, must FEED on the
suffering of others. Death must be slow, pain must be all.
one of them has escaped their world and entered our own.
From this night on all methods of human cruelty will seem no more than pathetic
to Kimo, a sick obsession of abuse without self-control akin to alcoholism;
sad and crippled. Tonight Kimo will witness the life of The Masters.
It is quite an amazing story and Ochse possesses a perfect touch where plot
progression is concerned. Every word of every sentence propels the story
forward and opens entire worlds and experiences with every paragraph.
The closest storyline I could compare it to would be Clive Barker's HELLBOUND
HEART or Marc Laidlaw's THE 37th MANDALA. Fans of either will enjoy this
story though NATURAL SELECTION is richer and deeper than Barker's tale, and no where near as long as
NATURAL SELECTION is a personal best from an author already established as a wordsmith of
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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