Written by Weston Ochse
Published by Dark Regions Press
There are names in the field of horror literature that everyone knows. Names like Barker, King, Lovecraft, and Straub are firmly implanted in the collective consciousness and most people can tell you who they are. Then there are names that you instinctively know you’ve heard, know you should know, yet can’t remember why. These names include some of the best writers that the genre has to offer. In the sphere of horror authors, these guys are at the top of their game, even if mainstream success hasn’t caught up with them yet. Such a guy is Weston Ochse, and while you might not have heard of him, he’s considered a writer’s writer, damned fine at his craft, and someone the rest of the horror loving world should be reading. Here’s an example of why.
Multiplex Fandango bears the legend “A Weston Ochse Reader” on the front cover. It is, in fact, a collection of sixteen stories of the macabre, weird, and horrifying, written over a span of fifteen years and selected from Ochse’s more than 100 published works. Beginning with “Tarzan Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” Ochse turns the readers inside out emotionally. Among the many themes visited in this volume are regret, loss, grief, murder, insignificance, religious fervor and psychotic breaks. One story stars Carey Grant while another (“City of Joy”) stars a radioactive Mickey Mouse and a mutated Goofy.
There is not a single weak story in the sixteen, which makes picking the best of the bunch something of an exercise in futility. However, if one had to narrow it down, it might break down thusly: “22 Stains in the Jesus Pool” is a twisted story that continues to resonate and haunt long after the page is turned. “Fugue on the Sea of Cortez” manages to disturb, and work in a nod to Lovecraft while it’s on the way. “High Desert Come to Jesus” is a darkly humorous tale of reluctant revenge, and “The Smell of Leaves Burning in the Winter” contains some seriously horrifying details. Every story, however, has its own merit and grace.
Multiplex Fandango is a brilliant introduction to Weston Ochse’s writing, for those who’ve never heard of him. After reading it, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you’ll be a fan of his work. No word yet on when it will be available from Amazon, but it is currently available through Dark Region’s website.
4 1/2 out of 5
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