Monday, March 23, 2009

A dog named Woof, and a smart Capuchin monkey

Horror yarns may not be what you expect from this blog, but Jack Kilborn's AFRAID is a remarkable gripper which features villainous males who certainly behave like animals (that is an insult to animals) and a couple of animals who behave much better than most of the humans in the story.

Afraid by Jack Kilborn is a horrifying book with a particularly satisfying ending.

I like cozies. I might as well be honest about that. Also happy ever afters. Further, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I read AFRAID by Jack Kilborn (with a view to a review) because Joe Konrath dared me to do so. He has a thick skin, and a strong stomach... and anyone who reads AFRAID needs both.

This is not a book to take on a fishing trip, especially if you've left your loved ones at home, alone. In fact, this book ought to come with a free membership of the NRA. You'll want your Brinks alarm turned on, and a loaded shotgun under your mattress if you read AFRAID in bed at night. You might want one of those panic button pendants, too.

Be warned. It is gruesome. AFRAID is the sort of book to be read aloud, in a large group. Maybe journalists who need to be kept up all night --for a slow-to-break story on Airforce One, for instance-- or secret types on a stakeout, would get a bang out of AFRAID.

The villains are seriously, SERIOUSLY, nasty. My own most horrible villain (Insufficient Mating Material) rendered his victims insensible, had his wicked way, then took a small plug of pubic hair for a souvenir. Jack Kilborn's baddies do a great deal more than that. You get a sense of the horrors to come when a faceless bad guy sits on his first victim's bed, and when she asks what he's going to do to her, he says "Everything."

And that's just page 7.

This book contains some sick stuff. Nothing is off limits. Think Hannibal Lecter times five --or six by my count-- with the absolute might and force of the US government backing them up...or at least covering them up.

The pace is relentless, the characterization --unfortunately-- is excellent. You will care about these people. No one deserves to die the way so many do. The writing is crystal clear, like carved coal, dark, sparkling, with more than an evil glint. There's no silliness, no messing about, and nothing strikes you as implausible at the time, even if some of the violence is over the top.

You won't want to put down this book until you reach the last line. It's a good last line. Really good. Yay for the animals!!!

best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jumping on the "bright blue scrotum"

There isn't a "bright" blue scrotum in my book. There's a "glorious blue scrotum". Can you find it?

In this scene, the villain --who is known as The Saurian Dragon-- has decided to convince an alien king Viz-Igerd that his queen is committing spectacular adultery. To that end, he has doctored a radio transmission from the man, Grievous, much as it is alleged Mr John Gibson's remarks were doctored

The Dragon considered. Grievous was a memorable character, and it was dangerous to underestimate an enemy. “The same, I think. But I cannot be positive. Dirty-pink Earthlings all look alike to me.”

“They look like Djinn!” Viz-Igerd agreed, blind drunk. The King seemed struck with the physical similarity. This was not the first time His Majesty had commented. Presumably, the splendid idea of breaking intergalactic law with one of a billion human women had taken root.

“I hope you can still hear me, Your Imperial Highness. I have to say that I would not have thought it of Princess Electra....” Tarrant-Arragon’s man appeared to continue his report without a pause. The editing had been smoothly done. “…There’s no way to put this delicately. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. Bunking… both of them.”

The Dragon narrowed his eyes, watching Viz-Igerd carefully. The re-use of “bunking” had been a calculated risk. It sounded sufficiently like ‘bonking’ for his seditious purposes.

By now, at least three official transmissions were curving their way around the space-time continuum at different speeds, and in different directions, all making reference to Electra-Djerroldina enjoying unlawful carnal knowledge of someone. Or not. The flow could not be staunched. The only sensible course was to goad Viz-Igerd into such a blind fury that he’d never take a rational moment to consider that ’Rhett would be the more plausible lover.

Other auditors would hear accurate versions, of course. And Viz-Igerd’s mind could always be wiped with Djinncraft, if exploratory mischief-making turned out not to be advantageous.

“Dragon! What is a Fust-er-Cluck?”

That one had obviously been festering in Viz-Igerd’s imagination for some moments.

“Where that human comes from, it means an orgy,” the Dragon mistranslated. “That is, various clumsy sex acts performed in rapid succession, with the greatest excesses condensed into a relatively brief time.”

He glanced at his victim. He refrained from discussing how many participants were required for an authentic orgy, as opposed to a Volnoth “Orgy of State,” where only the King copulated with the Queen, although they both watched multiple goings-on. Amusing as it would be to torment His Majesty, he did have to protect his only son. ’Rhett had to survive. He was the succession plan. ’Rhett would be the next Saurian Dragon, and all the sooner—perhaps— if he wanted to avenge Electra.

Yes, the Queen might have to be sacrificed. However, a show trial without a named co-conspirator might be difficult to orchestrate. Fortunately, he’d identified a satisfactory scapegoat in Prince Thor-quentin. No one cared about Thor-quentin.

“I imagine that your Queen and the vigorous young Great Djinn Prince are thoroughly enjoying the rut-rage.” He turned the screw, while gesturing blandly to the hologram, where the messenger was still speaking, and trying to scrape invisible dirt off his footwear. “It would be Electra-Djerroldina’s first rut-rage, would it not?”

Poor Viz-Igerd, unable to control his embarrassment, was displaying his… displeasure to hear that his queen was creatively fornicating her way to Earth. There was some species of primate on Earth—the name of it would come— that had a boiled-red face that turned redder the angrier it got. It seldom had to fight. The facial reddening was threat enough. Ah, yes! The red uakari. That was it.

Then, there was the ridiculous vervet monkey from somewhere on the African continent, which came with a violent red tallywhacker, shown off to great advantage—to those easily impressed or demoralized by that sort of thing— against a glorious blue scrotum. The Volnoth threat-to-mount had nothing on the vervet for sheer outrageous… cojones.

The Dragon discovered that his urbane finger steepling had turned to pantomime- villain hand rubbing, and stopped himself.

“Anyway, Sir,” Grievous continued, “it seems your sister can’t get it off… without… bunking… Prince Thor-quentin…”


“Need you ask?” The Dragon sighed expressively. He’d never thought of phrasing it quite as Viz-Igerd did, and his unruly mind filled with a crinkly bed of lettuce, three kinds of runny cheese, man-handled meat, and all the trimmings.

“…And, Prince Thor-quentin is proving a right bugger.”

“What is a bugger, Dragon?” Viz-Igerd’s voice sounded choked, which was not altogether surprising, given the way His Majesty was twisting the chain of office around his neck, like a panicked Earthling bureaucrat “social” worker trying to loosen a knotted necktie.

This excerpt is from KNIGHT'S FORK by Rowena Cherry

This is the news video mentioning the monkey with the bright blue scrotum. It seems to be a different species from the vervet.