Book Reviews Horror Short Story

VERMIN By Allison M. Dickson

VerminVermin by Allison M. Dickson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scooping up a new (to me) short from Allison M. Dickson is always a treat. Even if I don’t know what it’s about when I pick it up, I do know that there will be horror, and there will most likely be some humor – my literary Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!! “You got your Horror in my Humor!”, “You got your Humor in my Horror!”
Vermin is a squirmy, and sometimes uncomfortable read! Along with my hatred of the creepy-crawly, I have just recently read a Weird News article, with pictures, about an area in Australia that suffered major rainfall – leading to most of the land flooding. People were temporarily relocated, and the pics showed houses, fields, & trees covered by a fine, white ‘layer’ of what turns out to be spider webs!!Aaarrrgggggghhh!!! ::shudders:: The flooding forced these big, ugly, poisonous spiders to relocate, too. The web that is covering EVERYRHING (everything! Even saw a covered dog!) is jam packed with these things, not just a lot of unoccupied real estate with a spider here n there. Nope. Any direction you turn – you’re walking into something and getting a face-full of spiders. So, yeah… bad timing on my part!!
I dare you to look! If you Google safer pics of just the trees, it’s almost pretty – if you don’t remember the horrifying details.
THAT, along with Allison’s descriptive writing really put me right along side of Oscar while he goes through this haunted & infested house. Ok, well – maybe not along side of… how about a step behind? Oscar is already regretting his decision to do this job. He could have switched jobs with another exterminator after hearing about the house’s history, and the extent of the infestation, but he knows decisions like that are never forgotten by the bosses. They’re never forgotten by your co-workers, either! Rumors among the troops can ruin your reputation faster than any actual screw up, so he pulls up his big-boy pants, laces his boots, and heads into a nightmare worse than anything he could have ever imagined!
Be warned – if you’re phobic, you may be sleeping with the lights on for a night. Or seven.

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Anthologies Book Reviews Dark Humor Fiction Horror Short Story



14 Years Later, The Abattoir Crawls On
By John Everson
A Cookie With Arsenic In It
By Jay Bonansinga

ab·at·toir – noun – \ˈa-bə-ˌtwär, -ˌtwȯr, -ˌtȯr\
Definition : slaughterhouse

THE CRAWLING ABATTOIR is an anthology from Martin Mundt, a collection of thirteen SS. The Amazon synopsis goes like this…
*For a group of short stories written over a period of several years for unrelated reasons, “The Crawling Abattoir” wouldn’t seem a like candidate to have a theme, but it does: the hilarity of horror. The funny side of agony. Hit me with your torture-shtick!
From the desperation of a lonely necrophile deeply frustrated by unrequited corpse-love; to a really rotten clown’s long drawn-out discovery that success comes only after paying his dues in multiple broken bones, lacerated kidneys, lots and lots of blood and more; and to the horrible, horrible, (really horrible) misfortunes of Little Timmy, an innocent youngster badly mistreated by the world for no very good reason other than the reader’s enjoyment; this collection will jam a rusty icepick all the way through your funny-bone, and you’ll laugh until you cry through months of expensive, excruciating elbow rehabilitation. Enjoy!
Martin Mundt is a nasty, warped, zero-temperature so-and-so who can’t put two words together without first snickering, then slitting their throats. No wonder reading him is such a pleasure.” — Peter Straub
Now, my “synopsis” of each one…

Love letters from a necrophiliac to his ‘crush’.
Craig is in love. Head over heals. He writes and tells her of his unrequited love, but, his crush never answers his letters. He tries to share his life with someone else – but… she’s not…HER. You’ll see what lengths she will go to to try & keep Rex in her life. She’s pretty determined! Or – to borrow a quote from AHS … “She’s goddamned PLUCKY.”


Wayne & Kara are homeowners now, for better or for worse. Wayne, being a former exterminator & still having some kick ass poisons, is determined to stay put and take care of this ‘bug problem’ himself. While searching the house, they come across mounds upon mounds of cockroach feces, and some interesting looking bones, and some even more interesting bugs…
This one made my skin crawl, if you’re wary of bugs of ANY kind, read this one in the daytime! I love the names of his poisons, too!

Slappo IS the worst clown in the world. He’s got a bad attitude, he’s dirty, and he’s got a mouth to match! That language shouldn’t be used around the kids. Neither should his smoking or drinking. It’s these things, added with a little bad luck, that bring Slappo to his last gig – the one that will make him or break him. He might have a chance to turn his life around – with a little help from a stranger.

Tenzin The First, The Great And Serene Leader Of The Temple Of The Only Right And True Way To Do Things has been reincarnated, again, and his brother monks are searching to find him. Again. With flashbacks to ice picks, machetes, and even the electric chair – we quickly learn that these monks aren’t so serene! Their red mohawks and matching robes seem a little sinister as well. There was a great chuckle when I read what Tenzin The First chose to be reincarnated into this time.

This one is strange, I can’t quite think of something to say. Did you see the movie ‘Fallen’, it has Denzel in it. It’s about this killer who jumps from body to body after dying in the electric chair.. this is a little like that.

“You know how a woman can get on your nerves like that just by nagging you about stupid shit like what her name is?”
“As a general rule, you never want to listen to what a woman says, you want to listen to what she really means. Like, for example ‘Go away’ and ‘I don’t like you’. And, you can’t take, Drop dead’ literally, right?”
“I never give up, because I’m not a loser”
These lines should show you the mindset of the main character in this one! Fah Reak!
Join this Kevin Bacon look alike as he tells a story about a day in the life of him & his girlfriend, who happens to be the spitting image of Pamela Anderson. ::winks::

As much as I researched & wished… Arno Spivey does not exist. Trust me.
This story is about Arno Spivey and the comics he wrote in ’53. (The kind that mothers refused to let their kids read.) And, a man who grew up holding a grudge against the ones who took every one of his Spivey possessions as a child – and disposed of them in a most unusual manner.
A man who did what any man with a childhood obsession would do – find and replace every single piece. He may regret that decision.
This is probably the best & most known story from MM, and the name of the book originated from this one as well.

Rex is at it again! Necrophillia at it’s finest! Keep Rex company as he writes letter after letter to various publications, longing for an answer…from anyone. The letter to Calvin Klein is especially twisted! (Made me laugh!)

“It’s a good day to die in traffic…”
Mother broadcasts the traffic on WDIE radio. Listen and ride. Smart roads, the roads drove the cars, not the drivers. It worked at first, until people got bored. Boredom brings trouble. So, they implement the Scenery Creating Anti-Rage Experimental Design. SCARED. Telepathic projectors broadcasting subliminal messages into commuters minds. It worked at first, until people got bored. The other problem… SCARED was addictive. Highly addictive. Drivers coming out during all hours – looking to get their Serotonin fix, causing traffic back-ups and accidents.
Traffic was becoming more than a mere problem. It was an epidemic. People who had nowhere to go… went. People purposely drove in the wrong direction, so they could turn around and go back. It became worse every day. Millions, billions, zillions went into the smart road! All the technology, all the money, all the experiments, they caused something to happen. The smart road became The Road. Conscious. The Road was awake. It was aware. It was alive. And… it was pissed.
I’d drive on The Road! Shit, I’d sell my house & buy a Mobil Home!

This one had a chance to become the kind of short story that made me hate them once. Thank Dog that Martin Mundt isn’t “that strange guy from Maine”, and he didn’t make me swear off SS again!
A little town in Iowa has a new business. Little Timmy is the first to see the odd funeral home. An odd building with no windows & no doors, just a small rectangular opening in the front. Little Timmy was the first to see what happened in the cemetery, too. Little Timmy sees what is happening, and figures out what must be done to escape. But… can he? [Insert dramatic music here]
This had a little more of a sci/fi feel to it than I usually enjoy, but – still a good story.
* did you catch the little nod to Rex in this one?

Little Timmy (the same kid from AUTOREAPER) (You know I like when that happens!) and his 4 friends find a severed hand while out playing. If the gang needed something gross to be done – Little Timmy was their man. It was kind of his thing. So, naturally, LT is the one who is called on to ‘touch it’. He gathers up his nerve, steps up, and not only does he touch it… he picks the cold, dead hand up. He holds on for only a moment before throwing it back to the ground, trying to convince the others that “it moved”. That was the exact moment – and this is the story of – how Little Timmy got The Willies. He can’t seem to get his mom to believe him, so – he has to deal with The Willies on his own, in the only way can. This is another of the better stories in this collection. A little Jody Verrel (Creepshow) feel to it, but – taken to more of an extreme.

Peter Barry Manilow and Lola are kind of enjoying each other’s company. As much as you can enjoy a 2a.m., near dark, last minute, bar closing hook-up. Until they find out the Mr. Manly’ SuperSpecial Valentine’s Day RedHot Erotic Man Wrapper brand condoms they were using did something that they weren’t supposed to do.
This Valentine’s Day, these particular Man Wrappers seemed to be a hot ticket item, since everyone that was in the emergency room was there because of them. Unfortunately, some product tampering with the Mr. Manly SuperSpecial Red Hot Erotic Man Wrappers altered the chemical structure of the latex, turning it into an epoxy- like substance, bonding skin to skin. Hence the comical scene in the ER. Imagine, if you will, all the sexual perversions you can, the ones that will include use of a condom, anyway. Peter finds it all ‘a little erotic’, unfortunately, no one else seems to find any amusement in their current situation.

While uploading the cover for this review, I noticed something quite disturbing. See if you can figure out what I mean. Answer in the comments.

I’m really going to start having contests and giveaways.
Most likely, it will be books. But, I am going to start this promotion SOON. Even if I keep it down to one book a month, it won’t break me.
Watch for it. I have an idea already!

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