WALLFLOWER by Chad Lutzke
Chad Lutzke has a style that’s hard to ignore. He has this understanding of the darkness that floats under the skin of the human psyche as he pulls his readers into a surreal portrait of everyday horror. WALLFLOWER spins torn webs down the dark hallways inside the mind of an addict as its main character, Chris, allows his instinct for self-preservation to become smothered by Heroin.
Chris could be anyone’s friend, daughter, or son. He’s smart enough to know better and yet he can’t deny the surging pull of the drug once he begins a dangerous mentorship with the homeless man he and his friends find in an abandoned housing project. As Chris falls into the drugs comfortable embrace, the horrors of how quickly this all-consuming drug takes over his reality become only too evident.
Lutzke creates a dark vision of a realistic horror. It’s beautifully told and powerful, with a creeping sense of doom that invades every crevice of reality. His story is as captivating as it is disturbing, allowing little room for doubt about where it is headed… There is no smoke and mirrors in this story. It’s not easy to find a relatable stance with a character who tries something so dangerous out of innocent curiosity, but don’t forget that everyone makes mistakes for reasons incomprehensible to those who value their lives. The reason doesn’t matter when the effects are the same, and if readers are familiar with how heroin and drugs like it can destroy a happy life, they will experience the familiar stings of heartbreak and sorrow while reading this.
It’s not easy exploring the pain that others feel when they are sliding out of control. Sometimes it’s hard to create a believable and sympathetic character that chooses to make bad decisions, but Lutzke faces it head on and hits a home run that will make readers feel uncomfortable while they think about the addictions they have witnessed in their own lives.
The silken promises of a drug like Heroin are often rotting at the core and Lutzke’s seductive web of horror can only be escaped by getting to the end… unless the spider gets there first. (Cory Cline)