Coffin Dodger - Damien Casey
Well, this was a great introduction to Bizzaro horror.
I needed a while to process everything, from the names of characters (The Stalker song – to Bandage Barry) to the improbable scenarios the MCs (there are several) find themselves in (Deadly computer sprites falling over onto you – being your biggest fear…) to just plain old silliness, surreal and non-sensical. There’s no attempt at realism, no attempt at an explanation of the events unfolding that passes more than a cursory gaze – the thrust of the narrative and crux of the story is “Do we care about what happens to these people, regardless of how probable or realistic those events are?”
I think the answer is Yes?
Hard to say, by the end. Reading Coffin Dodger thrusts you into Damien Casey’s mind, a melting pot of horror B-movies, comic superheroes, Asian food and porn. Tenuous threads flit from one subject to the other, situations thrust onto characters that Casey fleshes out in the early stages of the book, well enough, that you care about what evil sick things he is going to do to them.
I still don’t really know what to make of this book? I was baffled by the story – the characters did their best to tackle what was thrust at them, and the cult that appeared in the book was laughably incompetent, funnily omnipotent. I think? Even the cover is a study of weirdness. No text and I am not sure I remember any of those things in the book.
So it makes perfect sense.
I still don’t really know why Bandage Barry did what he did, but I don’t think it matters, I don’t suppose in the grand scheme of Bizzaro horror that he knew why he did what he did. Casey tells the tale with gusto and aplomb, the writing is easy to read, there are flashes of genius, alongside nincompoopery, and you are taken along for the ride. My interest waned in the later stages, but I stuck it out to the end and probably couldn’t summarize the story for you and do it any justice. But I was kind of pleased I did, there’s a certain addictiveness to not knowing what the hell is going to happen because literally, anything could, hedgehogs on skewers attacking whilst rotating around a central axis being an example I can envisage coming in the sequel.
I enjoyed it, I’ll be back for more.
4 out of 5 stars, and I don’t really know how this stuff can be judged. I'm pretty sure Damien is a genius savant. One day, I'll figure it out, but he's way ahead of me.
You can buy Coffin Dodger by clicking the appropriate Amazon link, below:
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