Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Review: Jake's Wake

Jake’s Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow.
The novel is about a whack job TV preacher who returns from the dead at his own funeral and it is fast paced wild ride. Tons of cringe worthy moments of gross-outs and equal amounts of hilarious prose.

This book is a warning shot across the bow. It’s a warning that massive destruction and absolute terror is on the way. It’s not to say that Jake’s wake is not a powerful book, it’s fantastic horror read. I just feel Skipp and Goodfellow are warming up for a big show.

I admit I am coming from position of privilege, a few years back I sat next to Cody while Skipp read the opening chapters of a book (Freak) he was working on at the World Sci-Fi con. It was a very powerful reading, without a doubt the strongest piece I can think of related to Skipp. That is no small feat since The Bridge, the Clean-Up and the Long Last Call are all amazing works of dark fiction. I gotta say I knew Skipp was a smart man but he confirmed to me that he was a genius when he picked his partner for this project.

Cody for his part is the horror fiction world’s most underrated talent. An amazing word smith he can make you laugh out loud and disgust you more times per page than just about anyone. So imagine my delight when I hear that Cody has jumped in on Freak. That is the rumor I hear.

Lets also not forget that the two have rumored to have completed or started or a post nuclear novel which is one of my favorite genre of novels. Oh yeah I hope that rumor is true as well.

So what do we get first? Jake’s wake. Skipp has been developing this project as a low budget grindhouse style gore film for a while. He even shot a short film to sell his project, it includes the debut acting performance of one Cody Goodfellow in the role of the villain Grey.

This provides a funny moment when Grey is described in the book as looking like a young Lee Marvin. Look at Cody’s photo - he does.

Jake’s wake is a great gore fest horror movie set to print. There are few authors who have made a career of writing ultra misogynist gore fest horror novels that I usually am not a fan of. In the Long Last Call Skipp was able to bringing a deeper feeling to this type of story by exploring the deep fears and motivations of the women and men at the strip club where it took place.

In Jake’s Wake the novel is able to quietly explore religion and the hypocritical wing nuts it attracts. It would be a mistake to think of Jake’s wake as a blood path pure and simple. If you feel that a lot of the gore novels put by leisure are hollow exercises than Jake’s Wake is a great alternative. This is the kinda brains the gore novel has been lacking.

Check out Skipp and Goodfellow on Pod of Horror it’s a great interview.

Next Review: Mother Puncher by Gina Ranalli!

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