Review: One Bloody Thing After Another

Title: One Bloody Thing After Another

Author: Joey Comeau

IBSN13: 9781550229165

Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackie’s mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesn’t know what to do but she doesn’t let that stop her. She picks up the biggest rock she can carry and puts it through the window of a car. Smash. She intends to leave before the police arrive, but they’re early.

Ann is Jackie’s best friend, but she’s got problems of her own. Her mother is chained up in the basement. How do you bring that up in casual conversation? “Oh, sorry I’ve been so distant, Jackie. My mother has more teeth than she’s supposed to, and she won’t eat anything that’s already dead.” Ann and her sister Margaret don’t have much of a choice here. Their mother needs to be fed. It isn’t easy but this is family. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’ll be okay as long as Margaret and Ann still have each other.

Add in a cantankerous old man, his powerfully stupid dog, a headless ghost, a lesbian crush and a few unsettling visits from Jackie’s own dead mother, and you’ll find that One Bloody Thing After Another is a different sort of horror novel from the ones you’re used to. It’s as sad and funny as it is frightening, and it is as much about the way families rely on each other as it is about blood being drooled on the carpet. Though, to be honest, there is a lot of blood being drooled on the carpet.

My Thoughts:
One Bloody Thing After Another is an untraditional horror novel. It’s format is spare and the language stark. This establishes the tone for the odd premise that combines three stories that veer from normalcy to the bizzare. The characters are simply drawn yet strangely engaging, particularly Jackie as a disturbed, yearning teen.
The flow felt uncomfortable, perhaps that was the authors intent, but it made it difficult for me to settle into it, particularly near the end with Jackie’s disjointed experiences. It was a very quick read, it took me less than hour at just over 110 pages (if you dismiss the blank page chapter breaks.
One Bloody Thing After Another has some scenes that I admired for their creeping sense of unease and masterfully explores themes such as loss, alienation and sacrifice that are embedded in the arcs of the individual characters stories. What I had difficulty with is the stacatto style and structure so I can’t say I enjoyed reading it all that much. I’d recommend One Bloody Thing After Another for those that like horror tales a little left of center or are just looking for something new to try.

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

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