Anthologies Book Reviews Horror


Tales of Questionable Taste

Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Purchase Date: April 15, 2013
So…WTF happened, self? What took you an entire YEAR to have a discussion about this book?
::smh:: w/ ::finger of shame::

For fans of the bizarre, the weird, the strange, StrangeHouse Books brings you a whirlwind of eighteen tales sure to amuse, confuse, horrify and leave you questioning your lack of taste. From the warped synapses of John Bruni come stories of the destruction of earth, via a humongous totally nude man in space, a portal to another dimension inside of an office worker’s desk, a sordid love affair between two nefarious euthanasia enthusiasts, and many other yarns that span from psychological terror, to comedy, to downright disgusting!

This is another great collection of SS put out by SHB – all from author John Bruni. I first read Bruni during my HOLIDAY HORROR – Binge & Purge Christmas of 2012. His story FAMILY MAN is in the HACKED UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE anthology, and I really liked it – it’s pulls off a great twist that shorts usually aren’t able to accomplish. Remembering that, I knew that this book was going to be a fun read for me!

I really, REALLY love that the author added a section at the end of the book where he talks a little bit on each story. It makes it feel a little more personal, like I got to chat with him a bit.

One last thing before I tell you about these tales –
I’m finding that a reoccurring thought comes into my brain every time I read a Strange House anthology. There is always one short that I want more of. Usually, there’s already more story there – and it’s dying to be released!
In this collection from John Bruni, it’s THE SKYSCRAPER OF FORBIDDEN DELIGHT.
It’s already a kick ass story, and my favorite in this book – but it could be extended to novel length! There are at least 92 potential chapters, but there would have to be more innocent victims, ahem, I mean characters.
It would be twisted!
Here’s my million dollar idea for tonight – John Bruni paired up with Justin Roberts. Have a mash up of Bruni’s THE SKYSCRAPER OF FORBIDDEN DELIGHT with Roberts’ VAGARY ❤ The Skyscraper could be called The Palace… think about it, guys! ::nudge nudge::

Martin’s desk drawer just went all Twilight Zone, and he’s trying to get some help troubleshooting the problem. I laughed out loud a few times, wishing I had access to something like this!!

Seth is touched by a picture drawn for him by his g/f, Esmeralda. Not just emotionally ‘touched’ – like ‘Aw, that’s sweet’, but, touched at more of a gut level. When she tells him that the picture is drawn from something that happened to her when she was younger, he starts to question her sanity. By the end of the story, though… he’s questioning his own!
*Noted that this was ‘Inspired by Nicole Evans’

It’s a bird!
It’s a plane!
Nope. It’s a giant naked man, and he’s hurtling through space – headed straight towards Earth!
This man with the giant cock, and TS Elliot, inspired the street poet’s graffiti found at the end of the world – their own variation of “This is the way the world ends… ” and TEOTWAWKI is not quite as poetic as we’d hoped!

Ahh, Amber Weston.
Mrs. Amber Weston.
Married, but quite a looker! Many a man has dreamed of Amber, but nobody dares to do more than dream… until now.
Mikey, Mikey… tsk tsk.
What have you gotten yourself into?

A wrong turn in a bizarre heroin trip leads to corporeal banishment and a world of isolation & darkness.

You can listen to RIDING THE MIDNIGHT GLOOM on LiquidImagination – narrated by Bob Eccles. I didn’t like it at first, the narration, (He sounds like Your Host Bill Curtis, or the narrator from Anchorman), but it/he grew on me by the end of the story.

The B! True Hollywood Story of Vinnie Delva.
Vinnie Delva was born with a bizarre deformity, and in spite of all the bullying & bullshit growing up – he made the deformity his bitch, and became a star. B! follows him from childhood, to his biography with Kurt Loader, to his tragic end. Never before revealed details about his family, and his dark times. Tune in tonight at 9:00 p.m.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES (with Nicole Evans):
This is what happens when two sociopaths with the same agenda accidentally meet, and try to play their regular games on each other.

Did you know that John Bruni’s favorite author is Joe R. Lansdale? He’s mentioned it once or twice.
This is a Halloween short, written for the anthology I mentioned earlier – A HACKED UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE.

PIMP OF THE LIVING DEAD (as Jack F. Graves):
I learned the term ‘Catalepsy’ in this story. (In fact, I’ve looked up a few great words while reading this book!)
You’ll figure out the definition when you read this short story about a pathologist who takes special care of his living clientele, as well as the dead.

ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY DON’T WANT TO BE BEAUTIFUL IS A LIAR. Beauty is something we all want, in one form or another. If you just happened to stumble across the person who made you, and made you less than unsightly, what would be the first thing you’d do?
I hope I’d do exactly what the man in this SS does.

This one has struck a familiar chord, but I’m still playing Name That Tune – I don’t know what it is. I’m left feeling a little melancholy – with no reason.
Sam has been wandering the states, living from town to town, since he left Vietnam. Now that he’s reached 50, it’s time to think about settling down. As if the Universe willed it, he runs into an old buddy from the war. Phil offers Sam a place to settle himself, a shangri-la for their kind, and it won’t cost a thing.
But, nothing ever comes for free.

Chuck is having some anger management issues, and whether he thinks that’s true or not – the judge agrees. His counseling leads him to a new age healer, who helps Chuck separate himself from his anger. But, being without his anger leaves him unprepared when he has to deal with it face to face!

Peter is sick of his time being wasted, wasted by borish bosses and whorish exes. Wasted in by traffic stops, and in traffic itself. He soon realizes how much time he’s wasting by eating, sleeping, and even using the bathroom – and he soon finds a way to bypass all these distractions.

It’s true, but is it really superstition if it displays positive results each and every time? Well, positive for almost everyone…

What would you give to have a vacation like no other? An experience that’s completely unique, only thought of in the
darkest corners of your mind…

I still have a soft spot for vamps, and I really like this SS. –
In a world where Vampires are the citizens, most aspects of life would essentially stay the same – they’d just happen in a darker atmosphere. There would still be cook-outs, and friendly neighbors. Brothers and sisters would still annoy each other. But, if one of the kids goes missing… who is the bad guy, and where can he be found?

Det. Cameron Laurich is Bruni’s – black & white, cigarette smoking ‘Private Dick’ who uses words like ‘Toots’, and ‘gams’…
Ok, that’s bullshit. But, it is Bruni’s cop. This is our only glimpse of him, so far. But – hopefully we’ll get to see what kind of guy he is in the future. Until then, here’s what Detective Laurich knows about what happened at Lucy Jones’ husband’s funeral..

George Penderghast is having a rough day.
He feels the tension on his neck, and the familiar pangs of a headache trying to creep in.
“Just admit we’re lost, George”…
He grinds his teeth & grips the wheel tighter, trying to tune out the words of the self-proclaimed ‘Sidewalk-Superintendent’ riding shotgun.
He’s driving through a semi-rough looking area, with his wife in the passenger seat, and two sons in the back. He thinks “..this family ‘vakay’ is turning out to be anything BUT relaxing…”
“I have to go to the bathroom!”
“…if I killed ’em all, I wouldn’t have to pay child support…”
It isn’t a serious thought. He loves his wife Ellen, and his
boys, Jordan & Denny, are his world. “…once I get on the freeway, we’ll get back on schedule and…”
His thoughts are interrupted when his car is being pelted with rocks and bottles. Now… he’s really fuckin pissed!
Anybody who’s ever seen a horror movie, or heard an Urban Legend, KNOWS – If you’re driving in a shitty area, at night, and people start messing with you… DO NOT STOP! Well, everybody BUT George knows this.
He stops, he gets out, and if he thought his day was rough before… he’s in for an obnoxious wake up call! His day is about to become worse that he could have ever imagined!

When George regains consciousness, he’s in the basement of a multi-storied den of debauchery straight out of the Penthouse Forum for Sexually Psychotic, and his wife & kids are on one of the levels above him.
With each level catering to a different fetish, (sledgehammers & infants – Level 35. Going down?) and 92 floors to choose from, George bears witness to depravity beyond comprehension, but he’s not leaving without his family!

About the Author
John Bruni’s work has appeared in a variety of anthologies, most notably in VILE THINGS from Comet Press, A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE from Pill Hill, and ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! from StrangeHouse Books. His stories have also been published in SHROUD, CTHULHU SEX, MORPHEUS TALES, and a number of other magazines. He was the editor of TABARD INN: TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE, and he is the author of a crime novel, STRIP, from Musa Publishing. Check out his website at, his blog at, and follow him on Twitter at @tusitalabruni, if you have the testicular fortitude. He lives, drinks, and fucks in Elmhurst, IL

Amazon notes Jesse Wheeler as Illustrator

Tales of Questionable Taste on Amazon
Follow John Bruni on Twitter – @tusitalabruni

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when a team of unlikely criminals band together for an audacious score, everything is bound to go off the rails. A broke strip club announcer, an ex-con bodybuilder, a meth-head drag racer, and a career criminal have set their eyes on the local strip club, where a safe full of millions of dollars in cash awaits them. What none of them know is that the place is under surveillance by police officers intent on busting the Mafioso owner . . . .


Strange Sex


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