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Dial M For Mutants Mat Thorne Main

"Dial M for Mutants!" Book Review

Written by Sean M. Sanford

Published by Terlion Books

dial m for mutant mat thorne poster large

Written by Mat Thorne
2021, 236 pages, Fiction
Released on February 22nd, 2021


Ah, mutants. Is there nowhere your splendor shan’t reside? Be you skateboarding in the sewers, toxically avenging, or avoiding man-sized fly-swatters, your match is often made only amongst yourselves. Kinda like fighting fire with fire. But every now and again an unlikely team of people with your standard amount of heads and arms is your best match.

Such is the case with Betty and Buck, two journalistic sleuths who grace the troubles of Dial M for Mutants!, and find themselves face to face…to face with a particularly worrisome brand of mutant.

Betty and Buck work for The Midnight Extra, a rag not unlike National Enquirer or maybe The Onion, that will happily proclaim gorillas giving birth to aliens and Elvis eating at BK when everyone knows he’s a White Castle guy.

Buck has been a reporter since he was young and full of zest. By now he’d rather seek sources in his stash of costumes than find any reliable Bigfeet. Betty however is of a different ilk. A young photographer new to The Midnight Extra, she’s ready to put the Investigation back in investigative journalism. Betty’s got the zeal and chops to see if any nocturnal squirrels really did give birth to Jesus. Or if a certain woman’s husband was actually eaten by mutants.

Herein the curated duo takes on a story that, at the surface, looks to be little more than slobber guffawed at in the impulse aisle of the corner store (oh yeah, this takes place back in 1994, when cell phones and the internet were little more than a futuristic pipe dream). A woman by the name of Michelle Vivet has claimed that her husband was feasted upon by a brand of hellhounds who had once inhabited Buck’s backlog of bullshit.

As the two embark on an imbalanced agenda (Buck wanting to employ one of his many fabrications so as to move onto the next story, while Betty is intent on snapping some legitimately spooky pics of hellhoundery), they find themselves funneled into a whole world of entities and circumstances unimaginable to even the wildest of Midnight Extra’s drivel.

This novel reads a bit like a noir, with sassy and street-wise characters and all their lovable flaws. An aged and drunken protagonist, his young and badass partner, and a real head-scratcher of a mystery. As the tale progresses though, it veers well into its own lane. Even from the get we’re introduced to two reporters from a dingy and nary-respected rumor rag, rather than your classic private dick affair; and as they venture into their latest lead, we meet a situation that is more likely found amongst Lovecraft than Chandler. Including but not limited to an aged widow with dozens of cats named Steven.

The story ripens as the characters’ lives gain dimension, and their intentions help color the integrity behind their goals for the mutant chase.

This book is full of comedy, creepy settings, sketchy scenarios, and a three-legged philosophy that blurs the line between man and mutant, hero and villain. A few parallels are issued between us and the worlds we inhabit. As said by one of the more suspect characters, when describing a ground zero location for their efforts:

This building is…only the echoes of another age. One mimicking the next…until all we have are poor reflections. Copies of copies of copies. Beautiful perhaps, but quite empty. And always given to inevitable collapse…Nature, on the other hand, only perfects itself. It knows nothing of entropy. It builds its own cathedrals. How could we build one that could ever compare?

Such is a theme of this story, the nature of man toying with the already perfected process of life, and therein creating instead something nuttily modified. And also nuttily effed. On that note I give this book 3 thumbs up.

(Or 4½ stars, in Horror DNA-speak.)


Overall: 4.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Sean M. Sanford
Author: Sean M. Sanford
Staff Reviewer - USA
Sean M. Sanford was born and raised in the Sierra foothills of California on a haunted ranch that was constantly trying to remind him how wonderful it is being scared shitless. He later moved to San Francisco where he currently resides in an apartment that may or may not be cursed. With so many horrific dimensions to his life, Sanford has been known to revel since birth in scary movies, novels, comic books, and tales told by friends and loved ones. He writes fiction for the skateboarding magazine Lowcard, through which he has a collection of stories and photos called A Manbaby’s Requiem. He also wrote fiction for the online periodical Defiant Scribe. He writes book reviews for Night Worms, and Horror Oasis, and has written horror movie articles for the website, The Infinite Eleven. He has an Instagram account all about books, called @skaters_who_read. He and his wife Candice have started a homemade incense company called Effin Relax, and he’s been known to burn said fragrances during the scariest of movies to help calm his nerves. He looks forward to being the most freaky and creative spirit once he’s left this mortal coil.
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