Monday, April 16, 2018

Dual Depravity by Dani Brown & David Owain Hughes - Book Review


Synopsis
Dual Depravity. Two Authors. Two novellas each. One Book.

From extreme horror/bizarre imprint, WetWorks comes a new line of books, featuring tales penned by sanguinary scribes who deal in darkness and depravity. This filth-layered volume sees in a foursome of tales from the Queen of Filth, Dani Brown and the Pauper of Perversion, David Owain Hughes.

Tales range from splatterpunk and hardcore horror to bizarro and the downright depraved and deranged, exploring uncharted worlds and lives one bloody, and cum-stained step, of the way. From the mean streets of a city centre to the corrupt setting of a village run by hoods to the existence of special individuals who lead troubling lives, demonstrating once more that depravity and horror lurk everywhere, even in places you least expect.


Buy Links
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My Review
I'd first like to thank David Owain Hughes for the opportunity to read and review this book. I've read some of his other works and quite enjoyed them, so I was curious to see what I would find in the pages of this book. I can't say I was too disappointed with his two new stories.

Let me start by saying, though, that there are also two short stories from another horror author -- Dani Brown -- whom I've never read prior to receiving a copy of this book. I was curious and intrigued to see what sort of stories she had come up with to add to the collection.

Story number one is called The Previous Plastic Surgeon, and it was written by Dani Brown. I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting, but the story, unfortunately did not hold my interest for very long. It felt repetitive, like every little tidbit about the main character's thoughts were being brought up again and again every few sentences. I felt like I was on a merry-go-round that kept going and going, never letting the rider off. I grew bored and frustrated, and after the first 12% of the story, I gave up and moved on to the next. I know that sounds awful, but if something doesn't keep me interested or gets repetitive and confusing, I usually won't stick with it. Sorry. :/

Story number two is called Warfare, and it was written by David Owain Hughes. Warfare seems like a run-of-the-mill story about a gang roaming the city, asserting dominance over every other gang in the area. The leader, Abigail (no, it's not a woman), uses his members to deal with anyone and everyone who owes him money, has crossed him, etc. Domino, his newest recruit, his eager to prove himself, and he'll do anything asked of him. Needless to say, Domino becomes a favorite, and soon, Abigail's gang seems unstoppable. When they head off to battle another rival gang in hopes of taking them over, they end up at a condemned wasteland that harbors a secret. Now, I won't spoil anything, but the twist was something I didn't see it coming. I was expecting...something, but it wasn't what happened. That's not a bad thing, though, as I enjoyed the direction the story went. It's bloody, violent, and straight-up crazy.

Story number three is called God's Fleshlight. It's Dani's second story in the collection, and I was hoping for something weird and maybe a bit...blasphemous, if you will. Instead, I was once again frustrated and disappointed. The story, while very strange and weird, felt very scattered and incoherent. I wasn't quite sure what was going on, and all I remember was monkeys, a woman, lots of feces, and some police. I gave up on this one, too, as it seemed like it was using graphic gross-out scenes mostly for shock value. I don't mind shocking, disgusting, messed up things as long as the story overall is strong. This one did not fit the bill for me, and so I moved on to the last one instead.

Story four is the last story, titled Skid Row, and it's David's second contribution. This one is a bit more fitting of the depraved title, although, to be honest, it's not really that disgusting. I liked this one the best. It follows a woman named Siren aka Skiddy, who is basically a prostitute in Skid Row. She belongs to a man named Skat Man (I'll let you figure out why he's called that...), and he's a ruthless SOB, stopping at nothing to keep control over everyone in the area. He's a nasty piece of work, and not someone you want to cross. Unfortunately, Skiddy starts having thoughts of finding real love, a real life, an escape from it all. Skat Man can't have that, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her under his thumb. This story is not for the weak of heart or stomach. It's more of an action-filled love story that happens to end in horror. Think Bonnie and Clyde, but a billion times more extreme and without the bank robberies. That's the sort of vibe I got from it.

So, yeah, I really liked two of the stories, but the other two were just not my cup of tea at all. I tried to like them. I tried to get into them. Sadly, they just weren't very good. At least to me. There's a difference between using shock value for the sake of disturbing the reader and using shock value as a plot device to further the story. If your story is well developed and holds its own while being disturbing or disgusting, that's fine. Otherwise, I'm probably not going to enjoy it. That's my personal preference, though.

If you enjoy your horror to be more messed up and stranger than 'traditional horror', then definitely check out Dual Depravity. I'm sure you'll find at least one story you'll enjoy.

I give it 3.5 stars overall.



About the Authors
Dani Brown is the author of “My Lovely Wife” and “Middle Age Rae of F***ing Sunshine” (both out now from Morbidbooks). When she isn’t writing she enjoys knitting and thinking of the finer points of invading Finland with an army of chavs mounted on dingoes. She has an unhealthy obsession with Mayhem’s drummer and doesn’t trust anyone who claims Velvet Underground as their favourite band. 

David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly install in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had several short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novel “Walled In” (2014) & "Wind-Up Toy" (2016), along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and "Choice Cuts" (2015)
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