Hillary: Tail of the Dog

Hillary: Tail of the Dog  - Angel Gelique I like to mix up my diet of classic horror with material from new writers whenever I get a break in my reading, amd I've seen a lot of rave reviews for this work from friends on Goodreads, so I figured I'd check it out.

This is the first book in a trilogy.

I have to preface this review by saying that I'm a primarily story-driven reader. I like to get swept up in a plot that takes me to places I never dreamed I'd go when I started. I guess I like surprises when I read.

So it's my fault that I assumed the plot of this book was going to have a big reveal, a major twist that would blow my mind and make everything I'd read be seen in a whole new light. The cryptic, Memento-type first chapters certainly helped bolster the idea that everything was not as it seemed.

But it was.

And I say this not to spoil the plot (I don't believe I have), but to set proper expectations for readers interested in checking out this title. To me, this book was about torture and gore, and not a whole lot else. And I feel that it suceeded in a achieving that goal magnificently. If you're looking for torture/exploitation porn, you've truly hit the jackpot here. The torture scenes were genuinely twisted, churning and original in their horrors. The prose is sparse and efficient.

But torture is the main attraction here, as throughout the entire book the action primarily exists within the confines of a single room, the plot only advancing a single step to the left near the end. Without a a single truly sympathetic character (it's hard to be sure where your sympathies should lie, as the POV continuously shifts through the narrative), I suspect you may find yourself watching the horrors unfold with more bemusement than terror for the individuals involved. Suspension of disbelief is required at a certain point, but that's not a major issue with the overall hard-to-swallow premise upon whcih the story is founded. I don't believe total realism was the intention.

Ultimately, the gore-to-plot ratio was too off-kilter for my tastes, but that's just me. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for hardcore, creatively disgusting mutilation and bloodletting. Definitely not for the squeamish.

3.5 stars for successfully starting a new reign of blood, but only for fans of this genre with a taste for non-stop slicing and dicing. (rounded up to 4 stars on Goodreads)