Review-The Woman

I was pretty lucky last year to have had one of my stories appear in an anthology called Dark Doorways published by the mighty Post Mortem Press.  The anthology was made ultra-awesome in that four of my favorite authors are also in the book.  F. Paul Wilson, John Marberry, Lucky McKee and the mighty Jack Ketchum.  McKee and Ketchum’s contribution was both a novel excerpt and a screenplay scene from their collaborative effort “The Woman.”  I had been meaning to watch the movie and finally an opportunity presented itself to sit down, kick the feet up and watch it.

It didn’t take long for the feet to come down and watch the film with my mouth open.

The following hour and forty some minutes were spent literally trying to remain somewhat comfortable watch one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve seen in a good long time.  This is not a bad thing.  If McKee (who directed based off of the script he and Ketchum wrote based on their novel) had intended to make you uncomfortable as hell and not allow you to look away, then he wins.

The woman in question is played by Pollyanna McIntosh.  She is a feral, brutal thing that scares the Christ out of you almost immediately.  She oozes predator without a single word.

 

Yeah, see what I mean?

When a local lawyer goes hunting, he sees the woman washing by the river.  He decides he’s going to take and ‘civilize’ the woman because it’s the right thing to do.

By the way, he has three kids and a wife that he wants to help him.

Oh, and he’s an abusive bastard.

On this level, the most uncomfortable and disturbing scenes are the ones with his family.  The amazing Angela Bettis plays Belle, the long suffering wife and you can understand everything this woman has suffered from her husband Chris with just the expressionless hollow stare she manages to maintain for the bulk of the film.  Chris doesn’t even raise a hand to anyone in his family until nearly the halfway point and when he does, it’s as stark and cold and stinging as can be.  Sean Bridgers who plays Chris gives a very subtle and great performance; the family scenes are the most suffocating I’ve ever seen.

Ah, but the woman!As the film rolls on, it gets progressively more brutal on all levels and when the ends hits, it hits pretty fucking hard.  This is one of those films that forces you to pick a side and there are a few to pick believe it or not.  Solid performances from the bulk of the cast and a great final sequence.

This movie doesn’t move without McIntosh though; she owns it and makes it her bitch.  She’s so damn believable at being unbelievable.  She is both sympathetic and fucking terrifying to watch.

I feel badly for not getting to see this one sooner, but I’m a hell of a lot prouder that I’m in the same book with the two men who wrote this amazing movie.

By the way-NOT a date film.  Just sayin’…

Great movie all around.  Check it out-currently it is on Netflix.

N

 

“She Makes Me Smile” Delivers

(This is a repost from my Amazon review of this story.  If you frequesnt my site, you know what I’m talking about already.  If not, you can check it in the BLOG section.)

Given the build up of the release of this short story (which I won’t go into here) there was a whole lot of pressure and speculation as to the quality of the story. Sure, she got screwed obviously with the unwarranted rewrite of the first incarnation of it, but the elephant in the room has been “Is the story any good?”

Yes. Yes it is.

The author takes time building a nearly claustrophobic atmosphere leading to a deliciously creepy payoff. Building tension and delivering the goods is difficult to do, and DeGeit does an effective job with both. The tight editing by superauthor Kelli Owen (a nice example of solid editing as I’ve read the legendary botched edit) adds to the story, moving it along to the gruesome end. I can’t go into details as it is a short story and anything really would spoil the whole damn thing. But, the cover is amazing even more once you’re done.

Give it a read-at 99 cents, it’s a steal and the money goes to do some good.

DeGeit has a solid future as a writer. What will be interesting to see is the next set of work that comes out of her. Give her a shot.
Get it here!

Rabbits in the Garden-a review

I lifted this from Amazon.com after I read the book.  Jess is a first class chica and a hell of an author.  If these reviews prove to be cool, I’ll do more…

One of the neato things about being an indie author is that you get to check out other indie authors that sometimes wind up in the same books or magazines as you.

Jessica, at this point, isn’t one of those writers. But, she is a writer for the mighty Post Mortem Press, a damned fine publisher that I’ve gotten to write for twice thus far, and Eric (PMP’s Head Honcho) had been telling me about Jessica McHugh’s “Rabbits in the Garden” since I first started corresponding with him. Finally, after nearly a year, I got to read it and damned if he wasn’t right.

“Rabbits” begins innocently enough when we meet Avery Norton a 12 year old girl and her best friend/soul mate Paul. Thick as thieves and cute as buttons, we see the origins and genuine love between these two characters. That is, of course, until McHugh yanks the carpet out from under them both.

Set in an earlier generation, McHugh (don’t you hate when the reviewer starts calling the author by their last names?) sets up a series of heart breaking scenarios, bitter sweet friendships and a bad guy you genuinely come to love because you just hate her so damned much. If there is a more evil mom than Faye, I’ll buy you a mega chili dog from your favorite hot dog joint. (I’m low rent.)

The story is well paced and frankly, brutal in sections. You root for the heroine Avery through the many twists she endures and when the payoff comes…well, you’ll need to read it.  It is, I will say, a great twist that I didn’t even see coming.

Where Jessica really pulls off unsettling passages are the dream sequences, which are some of the hardest things to put to page I have found, and yet she nails it every time.  I found myself looking forward to the dream sequences just because they were so vivid and at times, genuinely unsettling. 

By the time you get to the climax of this story, you’re ready for blood.  And holy crap, you get it.  The last act of the book flat out rocks and delivers the goods.

McHugh is the author of ten independently published novels (not a vanity press one in the lot apparently) that were all published in the last four years.  (Suck it, Steve King!)

So, go get yourself some “Rabbits.”  You won’t be disappointed.

You can visit Jessica’s web site at www.jessicamchughbooks.com