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"Carnivorous Lunar Activities" Book Review

Written by Gabino Iglesias

Published by Cinestate/Fangoria

Carnivorous Lunar Activities Max Booth III Large

Written by Max Booth III
2019, 380 pages, Fiction
Released on February 22nd, 2019

Review:

Max Booth III has been a known name for a few years now amongst those who like their fiction weird and funny. He also provides top-notch fiction by others through Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. However, when he announced his next book would be published by Cinestate/Fangoria, I knew his career had jumped a few steps higher and he had something special to offer his readers. A few months later I received a review copy of Carnivorous Lunar Activities and immediately dug in. Yeah, special doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Ted and Justin used to be best friends, but life happened and they have seen less and less of each other over the past few years. However, there was no big fight, so when Justin calls Ted to tell him he’s in trouble and needs to see him immediately, Ted ignores his current girlfriend troubles and goes to see Justin. When Ted shows up, Justin continues to complain: he has a hard time sleeping, he’s always hungry, and he can’t think straight. Worse than that, he can’t explain why he keeps waking up naked and covered in blood. Well, he has an idea of why that’s happening, and he wants Ted to help him fix it by putting a silver bullet in his heart.

Carnivorous Lunar Activities kicks off with a crazy premise and only gets weirder from there. The humor comes at the reader fast and hard, mostly in the form of sizzling dialogue that will remind readers of Joe Lansdale’s banter from time to time. There is also plenty of action and a decent amount of gore. However, despite those elements being enough to make this a recommended read, the best thing about this novel is how it balances hilarity with horror. Sure, there are jokes aplenty, but also horrible deaths, loss of loved ones, tension, and extreme violence.

Ambivalence is a constant in Carnivorous Lunar Activities. Justin is telling a wild story, but some of it seems to be backed up by facts. Ted is more concerned about his missing girlfriend, but he also worries about the mental state of his friend. Ted is also torn between being there and running away and leaving Justin behind, chained to an anchor I his basement:

He set the phone on the floor next to the revolver and stared at the two, side-by-side. Which would be more sat¬isfying—shooting himself, or shooting the phone? Maybe he could do both. Justin said it was loaded with two bullets. One for the phone, the other for Ted. Let Justin starve to death chained to his stupid anchor. Sure. Why not? He’d brought this upon himself. But then again, hadn’t Ted done the same?

Writing aside, perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this novel is that Booth was obviously having fun while writing it. Fans of horror movies (and, to a lesser degree, fans of a plethora of popular movies) will find in Carnivorous Lunar Activities a wildly entertaining narrative that doubles as a love letter to the genre. There are tips of the hat to everything from The Blues Brothers to, obviously, An American Werewolf in London.

There are two things Booth does very well and I cannot stress them enough: humor and dialogue. The two main characters are friends, and they treat each other the way young men treat their good friends, which is to say somewhat horribly. The repartee between Justin and Ted pushes Carnivorous Lunar Activities into must-read territory and cements its author as one of the most comical, unique voices in contemporary horror. Yeah, it’s okay to have fun. It’s okay to make your readers laugh out loud before someone gets eviscerated. That aesthetic is what makes movies like Beetlejuice, Zombieland, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil so memorable. Booth knows this, and he puts that knowledge to work here:

Bitch, this is my fucking life we’re talking about. I don’t know every detail. I barely know any details. No fuckin’ wise werewolf mentor passed along some ancient scroll for me to take home and study. There ain’t no goddamn lycanthrope prophecy for us to gush over. It’s me by myself having to deal with some bullshit that, until recently, I thought was real only in movies. So, no. I got no fuckin’ idea why I turn when I do. Shit, son, if you want to get really technical about it—a real, legit full moon lasts only about a second. Blink and you’ve miss it.

Carnivorous Lunar Activities is a fun, fast read despite coming in at almost 400 pages. It’s a book that joins the werewolf cannon out of the gate thanks to the strength of the characters and the dialogue. For those who are familiar with Booth’s work, this is his best so far. For those who aren’t familiar with his work yet, there is no better place to start. Just make sure you bring some silver bullets.

Grades:

Overall: Fourstars Carnivorous Lunar Activities Max Booth III Small
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About The Author
Gi Bio
Staff Writer
Gabino lives in Austin, Texas, where he reads an inordinate amount of books and pens down reviews only for the big bucks he makes doing so. When he was about 12, his mother would tell him that reading all the H.P. Lovecraft and Poe would not lead to anything good. Being on the staff page at Horror DNA is the confirmation of that.
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