Book Review: Bone Saw by Patrick Lacey

“A fast and entertaining read that delivers 80s style pulpy action horror by the bucket-load.”

 

Having first viewed Nightmare on Elm Street when he was five years old, it is clear to see where the love for horror began for Patrick Lacey. It is a love that was nurtured through reading every horror book he could lay his hands on, from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series to Stephen King, before discovering splatterpunk authors like Laymon, Ketchum and Skipp among others. The influence of splatterpunk on his own work, from his numerous short stories and novellas to his two previous novels (Dream Woods, 2016, and We Came Back, 2017, both from Sinister Grin Press). For fans of the style and fans of Lacey’s other work, you’ll be happy to hear he continues to deliver the gore, as well as a great story, in his latest novel.

Liam Carpenter is a clerk in one of America’s last surviving video stores, living above his aunt’s garage after falling out with his parents when he decides to drop out of film school. His life consists of hanging with seemingly equally aimless friends, Corey and Marcus, as well as Corey’s shallow and abrasive girlfriend Jacquelyn, getting drunk and watching horror movies. His favourite series, Pigfoot, revolves around a vicious humanoid creature with horrifying pig-like features who hunts his prey and slaughters them in increasingly creative ways. Imagine Liam’s delight when he realises the creator and director of Pigfoot, Clive Sherman, is bringing the filming of the latest instalment to his small town.

But it is clear from the opening of the book that this is no ordinary movie shoot. Sherman has an ace up his sleeve that will add to the grisly authenticity of the kill scenes as well as keeping the effects bill to a minimum. With the aid of some creepy crewmembers and the alluring – yet disturbing – Tara, Sherman is planning something huge for the small town of Bass Falls. Something much worse than a simple low-budget gory monster movie. Liam just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and, after learning that his place of business is closing due to the shoot, and a less than amiable meeting with Sherman (never meet your heroes, right?), he finds himself on the front line in the defence of his town, and possibly the world.

But he is not alone. His so-called friends cannot be counted on for help. But, Maura, the new waitress at the local coffee shop, where he has been working on his movie script, finds herself drawn into the fight. After a run-in with a cough syrup-addicted private investigator with mother issues, her path becomes entwined with Liam’s and there may actually be more to her story than first meets the eye. Lacey does a good job of showing us each of these different threads of the story, before seamlessly bringing them together into a cohesive and entertaining story. If you have ever been stuck in a dead-end job, unsure of your future, you will feel a great deal of sympathy for Liam. And if you have ever felt the need to run away from a difficult situation, you will relate to Maura’s plight. The dialogue between the characters is authentic and helps pull you into the story.

There isn’t too much mystery in a story like this; Lacey lays it all out for the reader to see and enjoy. It is clear from early on who the antagonist is and who is perpetrating the horrible murders around Bass Falls, even if the ultimate goal is kept under wraps, more or less, until the books finale. The main positives of the book are the interaction between the characters, a likeable and relatable protagonist, and, for fans of gory death scenes, Lacey’s splatterpunk style shines through in every bloody scene. The private investigator offers a great deal of laughs while dealing with the imposing figure of his mother. And the pacing is handled well, making this a fast and entertaining read that delivers 80s style pulpy action horror by the bucket-load.

THOMAS JOYCE

Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing
Paperback: 254pp
Release Date: 15 May 2018

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