"Satanic Summer" Book Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Published by Grindhouse Press
Written by Andersen Prunty
2012, 238 pages, Fiction
Released on July 17th, 2012
Some people think fans of the horror genre like to read horror books in order to feel scared. There are certainly some that do it for that reason, but most do it because good horror fiction is like taking a really entertaining ride, and that ride is never as entertaining as when Andersen Prunty is at the wheel. Prunty, who writes bizarro and horror equally well, reinvents each genre with every new book. However, two things always remain the same: his ability to keep you turning the pages and his knack for making the truly weird seem almost natural.
In Satanic Summer, Doug Backus is a young man trying to lead a clean Christian life that includes a religious computer game and excludes fun, booze and women. He goes to church, obeys his overbearing mother, and successfully steers clear of temptation. However, when mysterious and gruesome murders begin occurring in his town of Clover, Kentucky, he quickly realizes his pious existence can never be as wholesome as he wants. His entire life, Doug has tried to do the right thing while ignoring that all around him evil things were brewing. Now, whoever is behind the grisly murders is also turning the town into a blood-soaked, wicked place where satanic orgies are daily occurrences and everyone, including Doug's mom, has a role to play. Along with his friend Crank, an alcoholic, womanizing rock star wannabe, and neighbor Whitney, who knows what's at stake, Doug tries to figure out what's going on. In the end, an epic battle of good versus evil will dictate Doug's future, and every decision he makes affects the outcome.
Prunty's prose is always engaging, truly hilarious, and wonderfully bizarre. Satanic Summer is no different, but besides being an enjoyable read, it also packs a ton of sex and a critique of religion wrapped in a comedy about friendship, being young, dealing with temptation, and the pains of having a regular job. Although it sounds like a cliché, reading Prunty's work is a great way to remember just how much fun dark fiction can be. The author has a knack for taking slices of lowbrow and slathering them with intelligence.
While all the necessary elements for a superb horror book are there, Satanic Summer also has that touch of the uncanny that makes the author one of the best at bridging horror and bizarro. A sleazy boss addicted to porn, plenty of goat blood, a massive orgy in church, a rock and roll band with a unique approach to playing music, and a priest in a wrestling unitard who makes sure Doug stays sin-free via some physical punishment all make the story much more amusing.
Satanic Summer is a great addition to Prunty's catalog, which already contains absolute must-reads like Slag Attack, The Sorrow King, and Hi I'm a Social Disease. If you need a reminder of how much fun horror fiction can be, pick this up today.
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