"John Dies At The End" is one of the greatest books I've ever read.
I know that's a pretty strong statement, but it's the truth. It's hilarious, it's scary, and it's written well. Those are the things I like in books. If you don't, this book probably isn't for you.
I generally review "indie" books, because I figure if you wanted to read reviews about mainstream media, you'd go somewhere else, where the reviews are more than rambling, incoherent babbling.
"John Dies At The End" is still independent, I guess, even though it has gotten pretty big since I first heard about it. You can read the details over at the website, but apparently, they even have a movie coming out.
Here's the thing: As an aspiring author, there are some writers I read and I get pissed off because they have no business making money off of their bullshit. I'm looking at you Meyer, you lousy bitch. I'm looking at you through your gigantic stacks of money.
There are other authors I read and get excited about because I feel like I'm as good as they are, and if I continue to work, I might eventually get noticed.
And then there are authors like David Wong. Not many, but they're out there. These are the guys who make me kind of want to give up. Because I will never write a book this good. I just won't, there's no need trying to comfort myself.
I can't really tell you what the book is about, because to do so would would be damn confusing. In fact, the book can be damn confusing, and if you aren't paying attention, you run the risk of being left behind.
Instead of telling you what it's about, I'll just give you the dedication:
For my wife, who has been so tolerant and wonderful through all of this that I think she might be a product of my imagination. Also, my best friend, Mark Leighty, who gave birth to the "John" mentioned in the title, and who years ago convinced me to get into writing as a hobby instead of alcoholism.
Mack, I'll never forget that when things got really tough in my life, you stepped up and killed those dudes for me.
"John Dies At The End" doesn't seem like a horror novel, at first. I mean, even though it starts with a riddle about killing a guy, and a decapitated head, and an ax.
You get to the end of that bit, and you think, "Huh." And you're kind of chuckling. But then it starts to settle into your brain, and you realize it's pretty creepy.
That's how this entire book is. The humor keeps you off balance, keeps you smiling, or maybe even laughing, so that you don't even realize you're reading a horror novel until you suddenly find yourself whispering "What the fuck" to an empty room.
The style of writing isn't for everyone. It's got a very Douglas Adams feel to it, taking roundabout ways to get to some of the jokes, and occasionally bordering on the nonsensical. I found myself laughing several times. Not just that quick chuckle thing, either. Like laughing so hard that I lost my place in the book.
The horror slides across the scale, going from blatantly disgusting gross-outs to that kind of lingering scare that gives you the creeps long after you've finished the book.
Are you going to finish it and share my opinion that it's one of the best books ever written? I don't know, man, how the hell would I know that?
What I do know is that you won't feel like you wasted your money.
You can buy it from several places, including Amazon and Walmart, and if you'd like to compare prices, you can get a list of sellers all in one handy spot: here.
You can also follow that link if you'd like to read the first page of the book--that creepy riddle bit I was telling you about.
I know I'm always telling you to buy the books I like, but it's because I care. And really, you don't want to miss out on this one.
Posted under Reviews on 2/24/10