Some of the stories you'll find here are loaded with very graphic descriptions of violence, sex and depravities, while others may contain only one shocking moment of brutality. In others, the hardcore aspect may be less graphic and subtler than you might expect. Some of these quieter tales offer the reader some time to recover from the more disturbing ones preceding.”
Okay, there a few stories in this that made me think WTF. So I knew what I was getting into with a title that includes Hardcore and Horror. There are definitely some “out there” stories in this, but the mix is good. It’s not all dead babies and pints of fecal matter. So I’ve dived in and picked the highlights.
“Worth The Having” by Michael Paul Gonzalez is a fantastic opener to this collection. It’s old school, be careful what you wish for, spooky horror, with a little bit of blood to lubricate the way.
Jeff Strand lightens the mood with “Awakening”, with perhaps one of the funniest tales, as a psychotic killer suddenly realizes he may, in fact, be a psychotic killer.
“Readings Off The Charts” by Adam Cesare, is one of the less extreme stories, but it has a nice, Hitchcockian build up, as a guy will do what he can to get inside the pants of an Extreme Ghostbuster.
“Reborn” by The Behrg. Be wary of what you find on your doorstep, as a group of Catholics discover one dark and stormy yet. Sometimes, children aren’t the sweetest things.
“What’s Worst” by David James Keaton. Well written but completely fucked up. This guy need helps. I don’t even want to talk about it.
“Dead End” by Kristopher Triana, The Twilight Zone for the bizarro generation as a murderer finds himself on a familiar road as he disposes of his latest victim. Interesting take on a familiar premise.
“What You Wish For” by Lilith Morgan, takes a couple who meet by chance on the train, and lets loose their wildest sexual fantasies upon one another. Which begs the question; is this what women are into nowadays? A fantastic and intense ride which tortures the reader until the ending.
“King Shits” by Charles Austin Muir, A trucker deals justice to bullies. Bloody, bloody justice.
“Cleanup On Aisle 3” by Adam Howe, in an out of the way convenience store, a battle of wits and bullets shapes up between a shop keeper and his latest robber. Tarantino would approve of the fantastic over the top-ness of this balls to the wall shoot-em-up.
“Bath Salt Fetus” by Jorge Palacios. I never got into GG Alin. This makes me not want to. Extreme, funny and sick. I felt like I wanted a have a very hot bath afterwards. Do not read if you’re with child, know anyone who is with child, or was once a child yourself.
“Bored With Brutality” by MP Johnson, Bizarro tale in which GG Alin (again) gives up on the extreme life and decides to settle down in Normalville, suburbia. What could go wrong?
“Exposed” by Monica J. O’Rourke, who’s the villain? Those who commit the crime, or those that seek dire vengeance? This story asks this question of how far are you willing to go to right a wrong, with a surprising twist.
“Eleanor” by Jason Parent, Religious guilt-a-plenty as a priest discovers a young female on his doorstep, who he decides to adopt and raise as his own. But what happens when she grows up and their attachment becomes stronger than ever?
“The Scavengers” by Tony Knighton, a brilliant little adventurous tale about poachers in the African bush who deal with back-stabbing and worse as their plans turn sour. Ivory noir as the darkness brings teeth, reminding the reader to never fuck with the natives.
“The Most Important Miracle” by Scott Emerson. Things suddenly turn psychotic in a diner for one fry cook as he descends into deliberate madness, or is it much worse, is it real?
“Hungry For Control” by Clare de Lune, explores sexual revenge and bad feelings continue for a young woman who seeks vengeance on the man who used her sexually before the apocalypse. But now she won’t even let the end of the world get in the way of serving her comeuppance.
“Clarissa” by Robert Essig & Jack Bantry, brings us a fucked up Fritzl-a-like case of a young girl entrapped in a basement, who dutifully plans her escape from her captor, but the plot soon thickens thicker than blood.
“Where The Sun Don’t Shine” by Pete Kahle is a wonderful monster mash told in two alternating parts as a camping trip goes very wrong for four friends. The viewpoints told from before the tragedy and the resulting aftermath, makes this two stories in one.
“Blackbird Lullaby” by George Cotronis. An unlikely gothic romance sprouts up from a grisly support group, the tale is delightfully macabre as it treats gore and severe injuries as nothing more than a casual annoyance as the couple are devoured piece by piece by their demons.
I’ve listened to a few Joe Hempel narrated stories, and he continues to amaze me, giving stories an extra dimension, doing every single one justice, despite the content.
I enjoyed every tale to some degree, but it’s not a level playing field. Some stories are better just than others, giving listeners/readers a pure taster of some fantastically fucked up writers.