Everything is Horrible Now by Edward Lorn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Decades ago, the people of Bay's End burned the town founder and his wife after she was accused of being a witch. When the pastor kills his family and them himself with a shotgun, things appear to be coming full circle...
I first encountered Edward Lorn on Booklikes. He's one of those insidious types that never pushes his books on you. Anyway, a little while ago, he asked if I wanted to take a look at Everything is Horrible Now. Of course I did! I read the first 20% during a rare lunch break where people left me alone and I was starving for more!
"Everything is Horrible Now" is repeated throughout the story, first by Pastor George before he blows his brains all over his front porch in front of Wesley Haversham, then by others. It's partly small town horror, shades of early Stephen King when no one was safe, part cosmic horror. Hell, most forms of horror appear between the two covers at some point.
There are several viewpoint characters: Sheriff Hap Carrigan, the lawnman that resembles Lou Ford of The Killer Inside Me more than the heroes of most detective stories, Wesley Haversham, the farm boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kirby Johnson, the homosexual boy sent to Humble Hill to be "cured," and Pete Blackwood, an imaginative boy living with his hyper-religious grandmother Beulah. Beulah's also a viewpoint character, as is Gertie Fulgore, a woman from a family stricken with a blood curse that used to worship The Bastard.
I feel like I was missing a few things by not reading every Edward Lorn book in existence but I caught references to all of his books I've read up to this point. Easy E does a great job of juxtaposing cosmic horror with the everyday small town horrors of racism, fear, and ignorance. There is some extremely creep shit going on here, like the Coat Men, the people working at Humble Hill, and whatever the fuck the kid in the eyepatch is doing. The book feels like a Laird Barron book at times, what with the cosmic horror and talk about the nature of time and such.
There's a lot of small press horror out there and a lot of it is mediocre to average. What sets Ed apart from a lot of horror is his characters. They all rang true for me, from Hap's inner demons to the friendship between Pete and Wesley. He nicely captures what it was like to be an eleven year old boy. It also helps that Ed knows how to put the words in the right order. "Like an asshole full of concertina wire" was one of the early lines that jumped out at me and there were a hundred others.
Everything is Horrible Now turned out to be quite a wild ride with a lot of crazy bumps in the road. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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