Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Love David Wong

Why do I love him? If you're a bit odd like me, you'll realize why after about a page of reading his stuff. He writes horror that is incredibly chilling as well as very funny, and  I was introduced to his stuff by Dwight Okita. Dwight never steers me wrong, so I looked at the sample of John Dies at the End.

As soon as I got to the part of the basement door handle and what it turned into, and what David (he's not just the writer, he's also the main character) says as a result, I clicked the Buy button. It was simply a crime not to get the book.

Make no mistake, the horror is very intense. Wong doesn't hold back on the gore and weird stuff that happens in his depressed, middle America town which he calls (Undisclosed.) However, I thought the most frightening part of the book was an online conversation between David's friend, Amy, and some other women. The concept was enough to keep me awake - and made me laugh as well.

Amy is a unique character. Like David, she is damaged, but she has her own strength and poise that transcends her need to take pain meds and a ghost hand. Her missing limb, in fact, is very important in the book. The relationship between her and David, as well as their dog, Molly (who might just be the best dog ever) is very real.

In fact, everything seems so real that I accepted without question an alien sentient drug called Soy Sauce, one that can bend time/space and give superpowers to the user. I accepted that there was a guy called John, a loud, boastful slacker given to much partying - which basically means he'll drink or inject any substance he's given.

Beyond those little weak points, John is loyal, brave, and at the end of the day, a great friend. However, his willingness to try Soy Sauce sucks him, David, and Amy into a series of adventures that grow more and more strange, taking them to Las Vegas, an abandoned mall, and an alternative universe.

John Dies at the End was so good that I saved up to buy the next installment, This Book is Full of Spiders (Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It.) Yeah, that's really what the book is called. The Kindle copy cost lots of dollars, too. Not so happy about that.

Spiders is just as interesting and horrifically funny as JDATE, but the storytelling falls apart in the middle. JDATE was all told from David's point of view; in Spiders, the author cheats and switches narrators and voice several times. I could understand if it was really necessary to do that, but as I'm reading, I can see how it could have been avoided, to make it a much tighter book, and believe me, I'm not a wonderful editor. 

Still, there is loads of action, plus zombies, Red Shirts, and, yes, spiders. And - how do I put this delicately? - let's just say that the O in Wong could be easily changed to an A. Yeah, there are lots of those flopping around.
Did I mention they made JDATE into a movie?  With Paul Giamatti in it?

Be aware that the books are NOT for children or anyone under 18 - and I might make that 21, actually. They aren't for the squeamish either. But if you would like to see what a book written by Stephen King's younger brother would be like, the one who dropped LSD concocted by Dr. Jekyll, decided he didn't like it and turned to writing instead, give JDATE and Spiders a try.

One thing is for certain - both books are very unique.


west_2552 said...

Love the cover!! I'll try to read it, Al. Too many on my list. Have you read anything by Linwood Barclay?? Mystery/whodunit/comedy all wrapped up into one. He's hilarious! The first book in his Zach Walker series is Bad Move. You'll have to check it out!

Alison DeLuca said...

Cool! I love that combo when it's well done, so I will add him to my list.

Dwight Okita said...

Alison, I'm so glad you enjoyed his books. There is a recent movie of John Dies with Paul Giamatti. And small indie film but lots of fun! Worth renting.

Alison DeLuca said...

Dwight, I picked up JDATE on your recommendation, on Facebook. I'm so glad I did!