The Sticks by Andy Deane @ Joe Bob Briggs

I review books for the Joe Bob Briggs website. For those unfamiliar with Joe Bob Briggs, he did reviews of drive-in fare on Monstervision (a staple of the TNT network in the Nineties).  Briggs is also an author and actor.  He played a small, hilarious, and pivotal role in Martin Scorsese’s Casino:

The Sticks by Andy Deane

In a literary marketplace still riding the wave of vampire fiction started by the Twilight series, it’s nice to see a book that focuses more on werewolves and is actually scary. If you’re horror cravings demand adult language, cleavage, firearms, blood, carnage, and ultraviolence, then do yourself a favor. Pick up The Sticks by Andy Deane. (Deane is also the lead singer to Bella Morte, a goth band. He wrote the book on the road between gigs.)

Life has dealt Brian a bad set of cards. Following a break-up with his girlfriend Alicia, he discovers she has gone missing. Set in the backwoods of rural Virginia, Brian lives in an isolated part of time away from downtown Jefferson. His neighbors run the gamut, from Nate and Natalie, the yuppies with matching Audis in the driveway, to Myrtle, an overweight woman with an aversion to clothing and sanity. Amidst Brian’s dealings with his neighbors and his desperate search for Alicia, he becomes enamored with Alicia’s former friend, Jess. He also rescues a stray, naming it Charles Bronson, when he walked home after the break-up.

Deane adds a few little twists to the well-worn horror genre. Brian is an avid horror fan, making his predicament ironic although still quite frightening. Despite his media savvy with the horror genre, he has to deal with the werewolf or werewolves that keep terrorizing him and everyone around him. Brian’s take on the situation does not devolve into the postmodern winking cuteness of the Scream movies.

The novel snaps and sparks with wit and energy. The language is vulgar and poetic, wonderfully written but one would not be able to quote it in family publication. This is a relief, especially with Twilight and its clones filling bookstores.

Readers will not find a monster that behaves like a lead signer to an emo band. The werewolf is massive, primal, and unstoppable. Edward Cullen would last about two seconds against this werewolf.

Imagine the Canadian series Trailer Park Boys, but with horror and set in the American South. Come for the vulgarity and firearms, stay for the compelling characters and bone-chilling horror.

5 Stars
Publisher: Delirium Books
Date of Publication: 2009
Price: $16.95
ISBN Number: 978-1-934546-14-7

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