Published by Demonic Clown Books
There are those in life who want to start over, to recreate themselves without a past, running from the darkness of their former lives. But according to Drew Williams, some past transgressions refuse to let go; and no matter how hard a person tries to escape, they will always find one another. In Art & Becoming Williams takes the reader on a ride that is one part “Twilight Zone,” one part “X-Files,” with a splash of Debbie Does Dallas; combined, they make for 100% horror.
Phil Luxor drives an ambulance for the county morgue, visiting crime scenes and scooping up the dead, all the while maintaining his secret: The dead talk to him. He collects tiny pieces from those deceased, trinkets that he uses for his art. When he meets his new driver, Jeff French, he knows that Jeff has secrets of his own and a past that he would just as soon forget. But as is the case in many stories, the past just won’t stay buried.
Williams expertly portrays his characters, giving them their own quirks and demons, either real or imagined, to deal with. In Luxor he builds a rich kid who is obsessed with his art and the souls of the departed that are entwined with it. With French he makes the reader realize even a former porn star has problems and emotions and find him oddly sympathetic. Even in the character of Kissy Mantrap (her porn stage-name by the way) he creates a creature of such hunger and ferocity that readers will shudder despite her name…or at least be reminded of some ex-girlfriends.
The moody environments and the storyline are also well done, which takes the reader down a spiraling path toward an inevitable, yet gruesome end. The crime scenes are described with such detail that readers will find themselves in need of cleaning as if the sticky viscera may have leapt off the page and onto their skin.
There are only a few problems with this book, mainly centering around its length. At just over a hundred pages long, the reader feels rushed to get through to the next scene. While it does give the story a sense of urgency that fits the tale, it might have been nice to go more in-depth with the backstory of the characters or even add a few days before the big payoff. There are also a few minor editing errors where characters are called by the wrong names. Overall, however, the story stands as a good piece, and such minor flaws serve only as distractions.
In total, Art & Becoming is a well written, if brief, story. With its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, it manages to both horrify and repulse, all the while holding the reader’s attention for a glimpse of the next living portrait.
4 out of 5
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