Thursday, March 29, 2018

Keep digging!

He Digs a Hole

Danger Slater

Fungasm Press

February 14, 2018

4 stars

Harrison Moss decides to dig a hole. It isn't so much a desire as a compulsion and it may have something to do with the seed that he swallowed that came from the unusual tree in his backyard. He goes into the tool shed, cuts off his hands, and replaces them with digging implements. His wife Tabitha is understandably upset with this and his neighbors are a little confused. Yet this is nothing compared to what happens when Harrison and Tabitha falls into the newly dug hole.

Not all Bizarro novels are horror but this one certainly is. Yet Danger Slater is not happy with just scaring you and grossing you out. There is something else happening here. The author occasionally takes a Italo Calvino styled look at the mechanics of the novel, letting the reader look inside his mind. In doing so, he involves the reader and addresses the reader as the pages are turned. From the books I have read by the author I am fairly sure he has some kind of obsession with insects and he does not back down on that obsession. It is difficult to describe what goes on in this book except to say Slater has a gift at describing the grotesque. However among all the weirdness, this seems to be a novel about relationships, separations, and reunions. He Digs a Hole is a joy to read. No matter how strange it gets, the author still has both feet on the ground and knows the reader must see some type of connection between holes, bugs and their own life. It is a feat Slater completes effortlessly.

Yet it is important to state when all is said and done, this is a horror novel. There is much about physical transformation which puts it into the strange and uncomfortable genre of body horror. For those who can understand and revel in such weirdness, He Digs a Hole will be well received. It also will be well received by anyone who enjoys masterful writing.

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