Monday, August 10, 2015

Hope for the Wicked by Edward Lorn

4 Stars
“It was just what we did, the two of us. We righted wrongs in our own way. We called ourselves Monster Hunters.”

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Larry and Mo came from a different kind of upbringing than most kids. While others were out playing baseball or joining Girl Scouts, these two were forced to participate in “Family Time.” It’s no wonder when they grew up they opted for . . . uhhhhh, a not-so-traditional career path as well . . .

“What justified death, for us, was evil. The Rolling Stones had it wrong. There was no sympathy to be had for the devil.”

With job particulars routed their way through a “handler,” Larry and Mo worked as hired guns, removing the most vile of abusers from society . . .

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(I’m Catholic so it’s totally cool for me to make a pedo joke like this, right? Right.)

They justified their actions quite simply . . .

“Bad people need to meet bad ends. It’s just the way the world has to work for me to continue living in it.”

And bad ends those people did meet – until a deal went not quite as planned and Larry had an attack of conscience. After that, the duo went legit and opened a private investigation firm. However, old habits die hard and once the offer of a couple cool mill is on the table it’s even harder to resist taking on one last assignment . . .

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Said final job leads Larry and Mo to Mexico where they have been instructed to take down whoever it is who has kidnapped Amy Trudeau. It’s in Mexico where things get disturbing at like a completely cellular level leaving me all . . .

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and then . . . .

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and finally . . .

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This book isn’t for everyone. When I say “Black as Mitchell’s Heart,” I ain’t kidding around. For those of you who have both a strong constitution and a strong stomach, be prepared to read something great – just get the lye soap ready for you to cleanse yourself with once you’re finished. For existing fans of Lorn, see how soon you can find the Easter Egg . . .

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Now, because this is the interwebs some troll is guaranteed to come to my review space at some point and accuse me of being in Ed’s back pocket (Or question how I obtain my books. Seriously buttholes??? Seriously? If you aren’t buying them for us then just STFU!). Here’s the “full disclosure” portion of the review. Edward Lorn is my internet friend (because we live about a eleventy billion miles away from each other and can’t be real-life friends. There’s also the small matter of the restraining order he has against Mitchell.) We buddy read together on occasion and we are both extremely disturbed individuals. Every once in a while he even bequeaths me a freebie of one of his (or someone else’s) books. Not this time, though. I scored an ARC of “Larry Laughlin #2” and since I’m not a complete a-hole purchased #1 in order to get the backstory. (Note to all – I haven’t yet read #2 so I have no idea if these work as standalones, but I’m going out on a limb and stating you need to read #1 in order to fully understand Larry’s thought process.) Anyway to make a long story even longer, in the past I have not rated Ed’s books because of this friendship status, but since I obtained Pennies for the Damned through NetGalley I will be obligated to throw a star rating out there in order for it to count as feedback. I’ve also decided there are enough crap writers out there writing crap and then spewing vitriol all over Goodreads towards other’s books and/or reviews or spamming the holy hades out of pee-ons like myself either via the messaging system or in our review space or that it’s about time I ignore Ed’s request and start rating his books.

This one deserves a poopton of stars thrown at it. Like I said it’s dark, but if you’ve read Edward’s stuff before you already know he is really willing to take you to the limit. He’s also maybe the best I’ve ever seen when it comes to efficiency. Hope for the Wicked is a little more than 100 pages, but the character and plot development are the equivalent of a full novel. I also never would have guessed he’d be a writer of “hot pig-sex,” but he sho ‘nuff is.

Since I’m fawning all over the place, you might be wondering why only 4 Stars? Well, it’s because I’m awful. Ha! I kid. Well, maybe. I acknowledge I’m awful and stingy with 5 Stars, but here’s my personal beefs with this one. First, this is totally a me issue and not an Edward Lorn issue, but I don’t like when poetry/quotes/lyrics/whatever are used as a jumping off point so I didn’t enjoy the Robert Burns poem tie-in. (Like I said, totally a me issue.) Second, Ed can turn a phrase pretty handily . . .

“Memories festered, but life’s maggots devoured the rotten bits if you were lucky.”

His narrative progresses organically and the prose flows – until it doesn’t . . . .

“He smelled my fear and tasted it, rolling it around on his tongue until it became sour and so unbearably vile that he had to spit it out onto the pavement, where it would burn through the asphalt like acid.”

Again, my personal opinion is the above is overwritten and (for me) it causes the effortless reading experience to kind of grind to a hault and require a re-boot.

Other than those minor complaints? This sucker is solid. The more I read of Ed Lorn the more I want to compare him to Stephen King, and this time even more so because while Ed has made a name for himself as a horror writer, it’s his non-horror stories that I find to be superior. So call me a shill, call me whatever, but do me a favor and give some of Ed’s stuff a chance before you write him off. He’s the real deal mah-fahs.

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