Review: Just Like Hell by Nate Southard

(Review for Bizarro Brigade.)

High-school football phenom Dillon has been keeping his homosexuality a secret as an act of social survival, but when his teammates discover the same-sex romance he’s been having he finds himself literally fighting for his life; kidnapped and bound in a remote cabin by his so-called friends, Dillon and his lover are trapped in a cruel prank that quickly escalates into a night-long ordeal of shocking violence.

JUST LIKE HELL mines the same vein of intimate, disturbing horror of such works as Ketchum’s THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, rendered stark and vivid in Southard’s straightforward prose. This compact novella races at a rapid clip, upping the deadly ante before the characters (or its readers) can catch their breath. With its violence and virulently homophobic antagonists it’s a sometimes difficult story but also a resonant one, and Southard does a fine job fleshing out his cast in a limited space so that we really get to know these people (even the unpleasant ones).

A well-executed slice of extreme horror that reminds us that the scariest monster is always man.

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