A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS by Garrett Cook (Deadite Press)
Somehow this was the first Garrett Cook book that I’ve ever read, this is something that will soon be rectified. A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS is an inside-out, violent, emotionally driven haunted house story. Only the haunt is the narrator of the story, and whatever he says he is – he isn’t. The house takes great pleasure at the pain of its inhabitants, both physical and emotional. The lines between time blur and characters trapped in the house from different eras are given to each other as a means of controlling them, inducing madness, and bringing their traumas and neurosis into startling clarity.
With A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS, Garrett Cook has created the kind of haunted house story devoid of the gothic trappings the genre is known for. This book is cruel and harsh; he puts his characters through terrible things, often at their own hands. The exploration of anorexia is particularly difficult to get through, and is also written so fucking well. It’s shocking and rough and hard to stomach, but goddamn if it isn’t fucking good. And that’s really what this whole book is. It’s full of horrible violence and inhumanity and yet its emotional center holds together and the writing is incredibly good. It has these moments of intense and blindingly bright genius. Combine that with all the fucked up cruelty and you’ve got a monster of a book.
My one minor complaint is that occasionally it feels a little messy, like one more round of editing would have sharpened up a few of those moments where things aren’t quite on the level of the rest of the book. That slight complaint aside, this book is fucking awesome. It sucks you in and fucks your head up a bit and opens your eyes a bit too wide at the horror and then, in 158 pages, it spits you back out, left to deal with the trauma that you were just subject to. A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS is proof that Extreme Horror is alive and well, kicking at the fringes, forcing us to witness all the unpleasantness the world has to offer, with a knowing, toothy grin that we’ll (or, at the very least, I’ll) gladly come back for more, time and time again. If you like it hard to take, interesting, and haunting, get A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS before it gets you. (Sam Richard)