Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews

By Shawn

Meet Macon.  Tattoo artist.  Athlete.  Family man.

He's planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.

During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel.  They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn't imagine:  skinning unsuspecting victims for food and money.

And Macon, and his family, are next.  (taken from Amazon description)

When I realized Mark was associated with Books of the Dead Press, I jumped at the chance to read and review anything he had.  Imagine my complete joy and surprise when I found out this book has cannibalistic children!  Yes!  Cannibalistic children!  Say it again!  Cannibalistic!  Children!  This book was written just for me!

Let's start with the characters. First, they're all intricately carved and have plenty of depth.  From the very moment you begin reading you're captured by the character's strong emotions and situations. This builds a strong bond that holds you tightly throughout the book.  Even without the cannibals, I still would have enjoyed the characters. They also come in such a broad spectrum that you can tell Mark has done his homework as far as character studies.

The world is bright, sunny and hopeful and then turns to gritty, dark survival. It's the difference between night and day and the background of our world fits perfectly with what's going on with the story.  Scene setting is another strong suit here. We get enough description that we can see where we are when everything is unfolding, but not so much that it bogs us down.

There were some great spots in here that surprise me.  I was reading along and randomly had to stop and say 'Whoa!' a few times.  The horror isn't over-the-top graphic. It varies from delicious gore to allusion.  If you don't like a lot of graphic scenes, you can skip over the few that are in here.  If you're like me and lap it up, there's just enough to keep you satisfied.

If you read my first paragraph and said 'I want cannibal children in my books too!'  then this is the book for you!  Pick it up and you won't be sorry!  You do have to slog through a tiny bit of back story for the 'good characters', but it's worth it since it gives you their frame of mind and motivation.

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