Insanity, horror and dark fiction are my catharsis. Brutally honest reviews are on the house.
Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet by Adam Howe was the first novel (anthology) I have read by him and damn have I been missing out. When a British man can write white trash American literature better than most natives, it is both shameful and amazing. He very much reminds me of my favorite comedian, Eddy Izzard, if Eddy were slightly more foul-mouthed and slightly less tongue-in-cheek.
Damned Dirty Apes: The story that almost wasn’t told due to the apparent sensitivity and subsequent attempt to ban it from the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Reggie Levine is a former boxer turned strip club bouncer in a small town dive known as the The Henhouse. When Elisa, the stripper Reggie is infatuated with, ends up filming a skunk ape porno out in the forest with Ned, the village dunce, they end up attracting more than just some poison ivy. While Ned is doing the deed in his nasty Boogaloo Baboon suit he’s worn since his high school mascot days, he gets snatched into the woods by the infamous Bigelow Skunk Ape. Forming a haphazard search party, Reggie, Eliza, Lester (Eliza’s boyfriend) and not-so-notorious skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury head out full bore on a rescue mission/hunting trip that will leave all of the participants more than a little scarred…
Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet: The collection’s namesake. Serial killer Terrance Hingle has escaped from a mental hospital just as dangerous as when he was committed 5 years ago. Terry Mulvehill is resigned to being a small-town waitress, the highlight of her life watching TV with her cat and her Ben and Jerry’s. Having picked the wrong night to work an overtime shift, Tilly finds herself in the trunk of Hingle’s car after he stops at the diner for something to eat and finds her to be a close enough approximation to what he likes to play with. Things go from bad to worse when Hingle stops for gas at a crappy little gas station out in the middle of nowhere and finds himself and Tilly at the mercy of the deranged Ritter brothers and their house of horrors. What is worse than being kidnapped by a serial killer? Being then kidnapped by an even more psychotic serial killer.
Gator Bait: I loved all of the stories in this book but this one was my favorite. Smitty Three Fingers has a penchant for married women. A nickname earned after an angry husband took two of his fingers, Smitty gives up the city life for playing piano in a Louisiana honky-tonk bar called The Grinnin’ Gator where he aims to keep a low profile. Horace, the bar owner and well-known bootlegger, rules his roost with an iron fist and a giant man-eating alligator he keeps as a pet. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and Smitty can’t keep his hands off of Horace Croker’s wife Grace, despite the imminent threat of death swimming below his feet. A lovely little nugget of political incorrectness and backwoods fun.
A little collection of twisted, fun, no-holds-barred stories that will make your life seem a whole lot sunnier. Adam Howe is one sick puppy whose illness has been put out for all to enjoy and should not be squandered on the faint of heart or tight of buttocks. Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet. Do or die. You will read it if you know what is bad good for you and enjoy it.
This e-ARC was provided to me by Comet Press and Hook of a Book Media & Publicity.
© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum
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Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Synopsis
From Adam Howe, winner of Stephen King’s “On Writing” short story contest, comes three original novellas of hardboiled crime, graphic horror and pitch-black gallows humor.
DAMN DIRTY APES
Washed-up prizefighter Reggie Levine is eking a living as a strip club bouncer when he’s offered an unlikely shot at redemption. The Bigelow Skunk Ape – a mythical creature said to haunt the local woods – has kidnapped the high school football mascot, Boogaloo Baboon. Now it’s up to Reggie to lead a misfit posse including a plucky stripper, the town drunk, and legend-in-his-own-mind skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury. Their mission: Slay the beast and rescue their friend. But not everything is as it seems, and as our heroes venture deeper into the heart of darkness, they will discover worse things waiting in the woods than just the Bigelow Skunk Ape. The story the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape tried to ban; Damn Dirty Apes mixes Roadhouse with Jaws with Sons of Anarchy, to create a rollicking romp of 80s-style action/adventure, creature horror and pitch-black comedy.
DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET
Escaped mental patient Terrence Hingle, the butcher of five sorority sisters at the Kappa Pi Massacre, kidnaps timid diner waitress Tilly Mulvehill and bolts for the border. Forcing his hostage to drive him out of town, it’s just a question of time before Tilly becomes the next victim in Hingle’s latest killing spree. But when they stop for gas at a rural filling station operated by deranged twin brothers, Dwayne and Dwight Ritter, the tables are turned on Hingle, and for Tilly the night becomes a hellish cat-and-mouse ordeal of terror and depravity. The meat in a maniac sandwich, Tilly is forced against her nature to make a stand and fight for survival. Because sometimes the only choice you have is to do or die…to Die Dog Or Eat The Hatchet.
Prohibition-era 1930s… After an affair with the wrong man’s wife, seedy piano player Smitty Three Fingers flees the city and finds himself tinkling the ivories at a Louisiana honky-tonk owned by vicious bootlegger Horace Croker and his trophy wife, Grace. Folks come to The Grinnin’ Gator for the liquor and burlesque girls, but they keep coming back for Big George, the giant alligator Croker keeps in the pond out back. Croker is rumored to have fed ex-wives and enemies to his pet, so when Smitty and Grace embark on a torrid affair…what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by true events, Gator Bait mixes hardboiled crime (James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice) with creature horror (Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive) to create a riveting tale of suspense.
Listen to this sample reading from the book over at YouTube from the folks at Manor House:
Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey Showdown, One Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.
Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.
Praise for Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet
"It's an explicit, hard-hitting, twisted funhouse ride into pulpish horror wrapped loosely in a tattered skein of irreverent, jet black humor. In short, it's a freakin' blast." --Walt Hicks, author of Dirge of the Forgotten
"Every page ratchets up the tension another notch even as it descends deeper and deeper into terrible darkness. Out of all the books I've read for Ginger Nuts of Horror, this is definitely the most intense." -- David Dubrow, author of The Blessed Man and the Witch
“With Die Dog Or Eat the Hatchet, Adam Howe hasn’t written one of my favorite books of the year, he’s actually written three of my favorites. Stories that are tight, toned, and genre-confounding. Horror fans and crime fans are going to come to blows over who gets to claim Howe as one of their own, but they’re both going to be wrong because Howe’s his own thing.” – Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Mercy House
“The recipe for Adam Howe’s DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET is: Two parts Joe Lansdale, One part Justified, and a heavy dose of WTF. The result is a swampy cocktail darker than any backwoods hayride, stronger than the meanest Sasquatch, and crazier than anything you’ll find chicken-fried at your local state fair.”—Eryk Pruitt, author of Hashtag and Dirtbags
"Adam Howe proves with the three stories in this book that he can basically write anything. And write it very well indeed. To summarise: A three novella collection that you absolutely must have in your collection. I give this one the highest possible recommendation that I can." -Nev, Confessions of a Reviewer
"Adam Howe’s “Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet,” is equal parts terror and fun, his dark comedic voice dances through each of the works in this collection to create engaging stories filled with bars, dames, rabid dogs, and an ape with one hell of a right hook."(Nathan Crazybear/Splatterpunk Zine)
"Once again this author has sucked me into the darkness of his stories and unleashed the twisted, disgusting and stomach churning madness that I come to expect. In fact, I would have been very disappointed if this book was not even more mind-blowing than Black Cat Mojo. And he did not disappoint. Hats off to Mr Howe for creating this magnificent novella of pure horror. I would definitely recommend this to readers of horror and make sure you buckle up as you will be in for the most twisted ride of your life!" -Crime Book Junkie
"I'm pretty certain that whatever genre you like to read, be it pulp, noir, horror, anything really, you will find something to enjoy here. It's fast paced, action packed and brilliantly written. Comet Press has got a diamond on their hands! 5 stars" -Adrian Shotbolt
Want to Feature Adam Howe?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Adam Howe, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.