MOTHER’S BOYS by Daniel I Russell (Blood Bound Books)
Above ground, a gang of sadistic young men abduct women for antics of rape, torture and eventual murder. Simon once hung with these cats but has since moved on to try and “normalize” by settling down and dating Natalie, the Goth chick who works at an Italian eatery. One night while on a date, Johan and his crew show up at the bar where Simon and Nat are celebrating the anniversary. Simon is visibly shaken after he and Johan exchange words. He excuses himself and goes out side to further the conversation with Johan. The boys have already begun assaulting the old barfly from inside and Simon pleads with them to stop. They don’t and things go very violent and wrong.
The next day, Nat goes snooping around for the old barfly, trying to piece together the events and how they tether themselves to her boyfriend. She is abducted and dragged to the sewers where she encounters a family unlike any other. The brothers who reside down there are deformed, and not in any normal fashion–baby Edgar is basically a mass of tentacles with a mouth, Herman is a skinless heap of flesh that resides in a rusty pram, Jacob is a behemoth and the twins are rat-faced scurrying things that climb the walls. There is also the brother referred to as “Whistler” for he never speaks only whistles. Max, is the most normal and the one who can go above ground for food and necessities. He’s the only one Nat already knew from his bumming food at the restaurant. She comes to find that the barfly was their mother and that her murder has ignited a war. A war between these freakish siblings and the gang lead by the white-haired Johan. The sewers are about to get bloody.
Mother’s Boys is a taut and razor-wired tale of revenge. It takes the tropes of violent gang war and mutated freaks and mashes them together. These characters are all well drawn and detailed from Johan’s phobia of germs and dirt to Simon’s rusted underpinnings gradually showing themselves. This is a strong and fast paced book and the first I’ve read by Daniel I Russell. I shall look forward to reading more. (John Boden)