This month’s read was a bit of a morbid one. I went into this story with little expectation and left with even less enthusiasm.
This story follows Calvin, who was obsessed with death in his teenage years about now lives a semi-normal life as an electrician with his pregnant girlfriend, Ronnie. Until he re-discovers his old haunting grounds, The Museum of Death, and meets Mr. Ghastly who gives him the VHS tape Death’s Door.
From there he spirals and becomes Death Obsessed.
This story does have an interesting premise. An obsession that takes over a person’s life and ruins it. Sounds fairly familiar, run-of-the-mill stuff. Add the twist that it’s a video tape and a new friend inviting you into a world of death and decay, and well, you’ve got yourself a fine acid trip.
Even if the ending leaves with that need to toss the whole book out the window.
This book definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s macabre and gory to the full extent that I believe the author has some kind of fetish with death. There’s even a nice cringe-worthy scene of Calvin licking at a festering wound on his girlfriend’s neck that gets a little intense.
There’s not much to root for as far as characters go. Calvin seems completely indifferent to anything. Even the fact that his long-time girlfriend is pregnant, and resilient to make things more permanent between them. Even when he does decide to join Mr. Ghastly’s Gorehounds he goes back and forth on the idea. Only seemingly enjoying it when his new love interest, Hazel is around, and even then he’s having doubts.
Which, I’m sorry, but he kills two people and only after wonders if there’s any going back for him. Honestly, the man can’t commit to anything and even the half-assed redemption arc at the end didn’t make me care about him in the end, because it was another soul’s memories (A twist that I’m not even going to try to understand because it was rushed and wasn’t fully explained) that caused him to care that his girlfriend been kidnapped and was fixing to be murdered by a bunch of psychopaths.
Ronnie is just as indecisive. Throughout the entire book, she cries about Calvin not fully committing to her and their child and worries that he’s cheating on her with the next-door neighbor. Which both characters diss on without giving her any real reason to hate other than she lives with two guys and smokes outside of their door all the time. And only seems to leave Calvin after finding the neighbor in the apartment. Though it was obvious that had she had time, she would have gone back to him.
Mr. Ghastly is never fully fleshed out and is just this strange character that appears when Calvin is taking too long to make a decision. Hazel, the other love interest, has a morbid past, and honestly, her redemption arc and spiral into the Gorehounds would have been far more entertaining than Calvin’s simple “bored with life” attitude that got him caught up in this whole mess.
If you’re into B-movie plots and have an odd interest in serial killers and the dead, then, by all means, take a chance. Enjoy it for the weird macabre tale that it is. Just don’t expect anything life-changing to come out of it.