Review: Urban Gothic by Brian Keene

(Deadite Press edition review for Bizarro Brigade.)

THE HILLS HAVE EYES in an abandoned Philadelphia row house. If that premise gets your heart pumping, then this book is for you.

A series of misfortunes on the way home from a hip-hop concert lands a group of friends in the aforementioned row house, where a clan of mutant cannibals dwell in the cellar. I won’t spoil any of the plot developments, but rest assured no one’s invited in for tea.

Keene wrote URBAN GOTHIC as an homage to hardcore-horror legend Edward Lee, and it shows in the glee with which he spills various bodily fluids. (And while there’s no shortage of grotesquerie, the book plays as a bigger homage to the late Richard Laymon than Keene’s own Laymon tribute CASTAWAYS. This is not a bad thing.) The book’s plotline follows close to the formula of 80’s splatter films, but Keene keeps the proceedings fresh with well-drawn characters, creative kills, and a few genuine surprises. There’s also a subplot involving race relations in the new dawn of the Obama administration and a subtle lesson in “doing the right thing” that Spike Lee never imagined.

URBAN GOTHIC will please fans of classic splatterpunk fiction and low-budget gore flicks. The Deadite Press edition even comes with wicked cover art.


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