It's been nearly six years that I've been reviewing horror books on my personal blog. The first work I ever reviewed was the novella Torment by Greg Chapman. 14 people saw that post. More than 700 reviews have followed and yesterday's review was seen by nearly 250 people. I can't thank you enough for your support as we near 100,000 views over six years.
I mention this not so much to toot my own horn, but I admit It does feel good. I say this to let you know that the book I'm reviewing today, Episodes of Violence is, by far, the most brutal, savage, murderous, and vicious novel I have read in all of that time. Yes, it's that good. Don't even bother with the rest of the review. Just do yourself a favor and read this before you read anything else in 2018.
And now for the review. At the very beginning of Episodes of Violence, we meet the blood-thirsty trio responsible for most of the action, Sage, her boyfriend Daemon, and their best friend Bobby. It all starts in the opening paragraph...
"The barn-shaped mailbox exploded as the baseball bat smashed through it. Various-sized jagged pieces of red plastic scattered into the air, a few pinging off the hockey mask Sage was wearing."
Mailbox baseball was just the beginning...
"What (Daemon) really wanted was to do something that wouldn't be forgotten. Something that would horrify the town and baffle the law."
Bernstein has always exercised an "in your face" writing style, but never more effectively than in his latest effort as he delivers again and again on the book's title with a vivid writing technique that's more akin to watching a movie than reading a book.
"A naked woman with tattoos covering her chest, arms and thighs lay on the stained and torn leather couch. Her nose, eyebrows, and ears contained hoop-shaped piercings and each of her nipples had a thick bar through it. Her legs clearly hadn't been shaved in some time, the hairs like a layer of fuzz, and her bush sprouted up like the head of a huge broccoli floret. She looked at Sage and then at Daemon, giving them a weak smile and wave. 'Come to party?'"
"He braced himself as much as possible for the ringing his ears were going to feel, knowing it wouldn't matter. He pulled the trigger with his sweat-slicked finger. The gun roared and jumped in his hands. Baldie's crotch vanished in a spray of fabric, flesh, and blood that decorated the grass behind him."
And that just begins to scratch the surface of what you'll find inside Episodes of Violence.
I've never been disappointed by anything I've read by David, but truthfully, I don't believe I've ever enjoyed myself more. There is more that just an ultra-violent dissertation here. There's a story with depth, characters we can love and empathize with, and others we can love to hate.
As long as you don't mind sex, blood, and guts, I can all but guarantee that you'll love this book.
Episodes of Violence is available in paperback and e-book formats from Sinister Grin Press.
From the author's bio. David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C, and now Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror.