Sunday, June 25, 2017

Horror and decadence.

The Fetishists

A. S. Coomer

Publisher: Grindhouse Press

Pub. Date: February 19, 2017

Rating: 4 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

If you're looking for a triple X rated horror thriller, you have come to the right place. In The Fetishists Jefferson Wellman, a well to do lawyer, is into the sadistic and decadent and will pay anything to get what he wants. He is told about a company that may be able to get him what he wants though a live evening fetish auction. It is no spoiler to say he ends up with more than he bargained for.

But if this was just a gratuitous kinky horror exploitation novel , I wouldn't be typing this. We start with a chapter titled "Now" (the morning after the auction) which then switches to the "previous evening" giving teasingly alternating looks at the results and the precipitating events. There was a bit of an expectancy for a Twilight Zone comeuppance tale at first, due to the main character's immensely dislikable personality, but that goes away as our protagonist is led deeper down the rabbit hole. The novel becomes pure horror and dread going instead for a very bleak journey into terror featuring body horror and issues of control, both mental and physical. This is one of those novels that is as uncomfortable as it is riveting and that is not an easy balance.

If I have an issue with the book, that is where it is, The humanist in me wants it to have some balancing moral ending . The evil in the tale is over-powering and I wanted a wrap-up that left me thinking evil doesn't always conquer. Despite my better judgement, I want it to be a moral tale. Yet the horror literature aficionado in me is mesmerized by that very evil and I have to constantly remind myself that this is just a book. Sometimes you have to read a novel the way the author intends it and, to be frank, I doubt A. S. Coomer was going for puppies and kittens here. He wrote a dark book drowning in nihilism and terror and that is what the reader gets.

At this point, I don't think i need to warn you that The Fetishists is not for everyone. I even hesitate to call it erotic horror. But if you are the type that enjoy their horror on the kinky and bleakly dark side, then you will probably love this. At the very least, you will enjoy the brilliant writing skills of a questionably sane writer who has the cojones to put something like this on paper.

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