"Stories To Poke Your Eyes Out To" Book Review

Written by Gabino Iglesias

Published by Barn Burner Books

Written by Jonathan Moon
2012, 226 pages, Fiction
Released on April 5th, 2012


I like it when a book surprises me. Jonathan Moon's Stories To Poke Your Eyes Out To did just that. I'd heard about Moon before and knew his fiction was good, but no one had said anything about the man's knack for mixing together fun, poetic language, bizarro, and hardcore horror. This collection of 17 tales packs a bit of everything in what can only be called a celebration of weird horror and smart prose.

The collection kicks off with two stories that serve as an introduction to Moon's unique approach to horror. First comes Heart of an Angel, a story that opens with these two lines: "I have the heart of an angel. I keep it in an old rusty birdcage on my table." From there, the narrative spirals down into darker, stranger territory. As if to make sure readers are sufficiently aware of the gory-yet-poetic nature of the stories ahead, the second tale, "Real Love Burns (STPYEOT Remix)", delivers another dose of violent beauty.

After surprising you with the first two tales, Stories To Poke Your Eyes Out To keeps rolling with a vast array of stories that are as dark and strange as they are entertaining and diverse. Here are a few highlights:

"Roadside Crosses" reads like a combination of a really scary movie about a vengeful ghost and a love story gone awfully wrong. Short and straightforward, this one has the kind of explosive, strong finale that makes short fiction a pleasure to read.

"Corpse Eater" is a tale about a young man who starts working as a mortician and quickly learns that there is much more to be afraid of than dead people. Gory, tense, and funny, this one feels like a hardcore version of something you might've found in Tales from the Crypt.

"Disasternoon" returns the reader to the condensed power of the first two tales. More noir than horror, this is one of the shortest pieces in the book (the preceding story, Human as a Vulture, is ten lines long and the shortest in the collection). Despite its length and the fact that it feels like a taste of something bigger, it will stick with readers simply because it makes tar seem colorful in comparison.

"Bone Home" is another surprise because it starts off as a very descriptive narrative about a house and the quickly transforms into a Lovecraftian nightmare.

If I had to pick one story to represent Moon's work, it'd be "Amputee Disco" and the "Lord of the Groove". I won't waste time trying to explain what the story is about. Instead, I'll tell you this: you've never read anything like this amalgamation of humor, gore, bizarro, demons, and music.

Stories To Poke Your Eyes Out To is a solid collection by an author with a unique voice. Despite its title, you'll want to keep your eyes intact just so you can read more of Moon's work.



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