FLANAGAN by James H. Longmore (Sinister Grin Press)
Chris and Helen are a young–though not as young as they try to behave–married couple. Being teachers, they are ecstatic that spring break is upon them and they have plans for a great and relaxing vacation filled with all of their favorite activities. They’ve been married for a decade and hope to reconnect with one another, if you catch my drift.
They stop off in the small town of Flanagan on their way to their destination. They visit a local flea market and get a first hand sampling of the quaint and bizarre denizens of Flanagan. A stop at the local convenience store ups the ante on the scary redneck meter. Then they hit the hotel, which is kind of gross and cheap but it’ll work. The owner/clerk is a greasy redneck in a death metal t-shirt. After ignoring the myriad of warning signs things spiral into a whirlpool of violence and sex. What starts as a rednecks-gone-wild-on-the -city-folk’s story steamrolling into a twisted and not-quite-what-you think tale that leaves you feeling unsettled and gross.
I’ll be honest, I’m not much for the extreme horror these days. I mean, I’m not a prude and not easily offended but I tend to prefer quieter things, weirder things. That said, I enjoyed this one, mainly for the thick veins of dark humor that marble it. The violence is there and usually used a catalyst for the pitch black relationship satire at work. James H. Longmore is a solid writer and if very dark and brutal comedic horror is your thing, then this is for you. If you are weak of heart and easily embarrassed, then stay far away. Aw hell, read it anyway. (John Boden)