“I don’t normally start a review with a quote from the subject material. However, for Wicked Candy, I’ll make a glorious exception. So here it is:
‘Dr. Herman Groinslab patted the lead-lined box. “What we have here is”, he said, “is a triumph of genetic retrofitting. The ordinary human vagina, enhanced by its union with the vampire bat.”‘
An excerpt from Vampussy, just one of the four perversely creepy short stories on hand here. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wicked Candy. The cover didn’t say much about the book but since I’ve been working in close proximity to Alex S. Johnson for a few weeks (compilations, anthologies, Facebook), I always intended to check out some of his work. Wicked Candy didn’t disappoint and, for me, was a perfect introduction to an author I’ve been familiar with for some time but never read. After reading this, I can confirm I’m now a fan.
I love horror. Original or otherwise, I’ll always give it a shot. One thing I adore more than anything is horror that’s bold, brazen and ambitious. I’ve seen some horror authors stifled by their editors, agents or publishers – and it’s a tragic shame – but when you can find a horror author who has free reign, absolute control, and say over his work you are on to a winner. Johnson falls into this category. He writes for the purest of horror fans, the ones not content with shelf-friendly material, the people who want their horror morbid, gore-tastic, perverse, offensive and very very horrific. Not to mention sexy and hilarious in a very dark way.
Easily offended? Turn away now. Like your horror quirky, fantastical and bat*** crazy? Keep reading. Wicked Candy is a book that’s not for the faint-hearted. My fiancée caught a glimpse of some of the text and walked out of the room. Johnson isn’t afraid to speak his mind, raid his memory banks for original, offensive ideas or fill the pages with material that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t be viewed by innocent eyes. Johnson crafts and cultivates some intricate yet disturbing characters and mutates some restraining horror tropes to produce probably the most genuinely creepy book I’ve read in some time.
Put it this way, I’m not easily offended but I could hear the masses causing hysteria, losing their sanity and boycotting the world over the content of WC. I might have humanity pegged as a bunch of wimps but for anyone who feels they can read anything, I say give this a shot. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but when horror is this refreshing, this bold and breathtakingly different, I begin losing the will to care.
5*? Absolutely. People could be divided over this book but you can’t deny the authors ability to conjure horror and twist it with other genres with little or no effort. Something very few authors can do. Johnson once quoted ‘I don’t want to be the next Stephen King. The next Clive Barker. Or even the next Hunter S. Thompson. As a writer, I’ve been working hard for nearly four decades to be the first me.’ An honest opinion from an honest, talented writer. It’s only fitting that his work should reflect this. Amazing.