Sunday, February 1, 2009

Book Review: The Long Last Call by John Skipp

The Long Last Call

by John Skipp

It's fifteen minutes till closing time when good-ol'-crazy-ol'-Hank strolls into the strip club with a pistol, fully prepared to blow his own head off at the foot of the stage. What he wasn't expecting was to fall for one of the girls. What nobody was expecting was the entrance of another patron, an older gentleman in a dark suit who simply reeks of wealth. And he's not shy about passing out hundred dollar bills as if they were singles, making him, of course, the focus of all attention.

But the money is a bit strange--not only is is coated in a thin layer of slime, but it invokes in whomever holds it an animal sense of hatred, rage and greed. Once you get a hold of one bill, you'll do anything to get a hold of another: wanton acts of lesbianism, lap dances, and murder included. Anything!

Only a select few are able to resist this dark stranger's charms, which make them all the more dangerous and him all the more desperate to destroy them. It's a classic tale of good versus evil--with blowjobs and titty tassles.

And that's pretty much what you get. No subplots, no subtexts, no subliminal moral lessons--just good old fashioned splatterpunk by the man who is said to have co-founded the genre. And that's not a bad thing. It's fast moving, frenetic, and constantly bouncing from one point of view to another, giving us the action simultaneously from all sides. Not everything has to have some great meaning behind it. Sometimes you just want something fast and most of all fun. And this book is definitely that.

If it seems to be just begging for a screen treatment, that's because it is. The story was originally written as a movie script, but when that fell through, it was converted into its current novel format. Seeing the film finally get made would be great, though.

It's not going to change your life or your outlook on the horror genre, and this novel alone isn't going to make Skipp your new new favorite author, but I can think of countless worse ways to while away the lonely hours.

You know, after the titty bar is closed.

The Long Last Call comes coupled with 'bonus novella' Conscience by the same author.


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