A weird, EXTREMELY DISGUSTING novella that reminded me of The Garbage Pail Kids film and cards in certain ways. Having said that, it still feels like a cartoon or even a romantic comedy in terms of its narrative structure and themes (Parenthood, Fitting-In, Family, etc.).
I despise reviews that summarize, so I’ll just say that McKenzie manages to make this unlikely/strange premise (toilet kids birthed from toilets) actually quite believable. I even found myself rooting for the characters and highly entertained as it moved seamlessly from one surprising/frightening scene to the next. Did I mention it was disgusting? If you found the film Street Trash funny, then you probably have a sick enough sense of humor to enjoy this–but also, like I said, it’s actually pretty heartwarming in the same way as a well-constructed RomCom. So, really, anyone can enjoy this quaint little tale called Toliet Baby in a joyous evening while roasting chestnuts over an open fire.
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This was a short, satisfying, complex little crime novel. It shifts perspectives quite often (hawks In Cold Blood sections come to mind) to a slightly-surreal/jarring effect, but nonetheless feels like classic hard-boiled noir. One unforgettable scene includes two disorganized crime yokels trying to frame a disguised televangelist in a redneck gay bar.
I hope Jedidiah Ayres keeps publishing crime books in this style; it was quite refreshing compared to other grocery-store crime Gods like Patterson, Kellerman, and the like. It is twisted, compelling, and action-packed. I reread the prologue for its somehow hypothetical tone and jarring investigation of dead possibilities several times before embarking on the unforgettable ride that is this novel.
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10 reasons to read The First One You Expect by Adam Cesare
1. Any artist will immediately be drawn into this novella about how far one will go to self-promote.
2. You will be terrified by a depraved twist that is woven seamlessly into the narrative.
3. You collect knives and might be a bit shy about your true motivation.
4. You want to discover more underground horror authors.
5. You like faux-vintage book covers.
6. You have ever been to a dark place while struggling to create a masterpiece in cinema.
7. You have ever worked a crummy job, hoping for an angelic turn of events.
8. You have ever confessed your true desires to a rat.
9. You collect to escape your surroundings.
10. You like harsh realism in a genre that (horror)–ironically–frequently avoids it.
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