Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review: HEARTLESS Eric Durchholz

Title: Heartless
Author: Eric Durchholz
Genre: Horror
Price: $17.66/6.66 (ebook)
Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 978-1589825055
Point of Sale: Lulu
Reviewed By: Emily Veinglory

Heartless is a lot more coherent that Durchholz's previous novel. Well, no, that's not quite true. It is more that the novel's surreal world building and dizzying threading together of real world insanity and metaphysical conspiracy is more systematic, convincing and deftly achieved.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The basic story relates to Dustin a drug-addicted depressive, his best friend Sam and Sam's girl friend Deena. Dustin's suicidal impulse leads to something a little bit like a deal with the devil, but a lot more interesting.

The story of Dustin struggling with just what he is willing to do to get what he thinks he wants is embedded in a lot of unconventional use of formatting, font, graphics and more. This is the kind of gimmick that usually annoys the heck out of me but in this case it not only failed to irritate but actually added something to the text in most (albeit not all) cases. The devices used to render depressive thinking and drug-altered states are highlights, the Wikipedia info-dumps and computer-screen-unfriendly page shape, not so much.

Buried in a magical realism is 7/8ths of a very good story (lacking a truly well-resolved conclusion) and a couple of genuinely thought provoking moments. This is one of the better books I have read this year and certainly the most interesting.


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