Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Horror/Psychological Thriller
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store
Twelve different authors contributed to this novel, including Pals past and present, Ryan Bracha and Keith Nixon, along with ten others. Most of the others have had their solo work reviewed here with three of these (Les Edgerton, Richard Godwin, and Gerard Brennan) receiving nominations in the 2014 BigAl’s Books and Pals Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition to those already mentioned, contributions were also made by Paul D Brazill, Craig Furchtenicht, Allen Miles, Darren Sant, Gareth Spark, Martin Stanley, and Mark Wilson.
“At St. David's asylum for the criminally insane there are twelve residents. They call us that. Not inmates.
We all have a favourite colour. A favourite member of staff. A favourite method of receiving torture for the purposes of science.
We all have our reasons for being here. Our stories. Our tales.
Why don't you come and hear them?
Twelve Mad Men is a groundbreaking literary collaboration. A novel which has a series of stories woven into the narrative, and featuring the finest independent authors from across the globe.”
Run off to Amazon (unless you’re there already), click the look inside for this book, and read Ryan Bracha’s introduction. If the concept appeals to you, the book should, too. For the tl;dr crowd (that’s “too long; didn’t read, for the uninitiated), the concept is each of the contributors imagined they were “residents” at St. David's Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and tell the story of how they got there. As Bracha says in the introduction, it is a chance for each to “showcase their most depraved sides.” Then Bracha added words of his own between each contribution to weave a coherent whole.
It turned out better than I’d have guessed possible. Assuming depraved and (again borrowing from Bracha’s intro) “violent, sweary, funny, and filthy” are your thing. (Aren’t they everyone’s?) That each author’s character used their own name added to the humor as I, for example, imagined Keith Nixon as an oil painting crazy with a talent for making psychiatrists throw up their hands in frustration or Mark Wilson as a gender-confused patient with an addiction to what in times past was euphemistically called “self-abuse” (often accompanied by warnings of impending blindness). Not for the faint of heart, but a must read for horror fans interested in something different.
Among the things we normally mention here are if a particular flavor (or flavour) of English is used (the authors are from both the US and UK and this is reflected in word usage, slang, and possibly spelling conventions), whether there is sexual content (yup), adult language (yes, yes, OH YES), or anything else that might rile up, offend, or nauseate some people (you betcha). Sensitive types, this book’s not for you.
A small number of proofing and copy editing issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars