Friday, January 1, 2016

Review by Coll! The Incurables by Jon Bassoff. 4 Coffee Cups!

The Incurables
By: Jon Bassoff
Genre: Horror

The year is 1953. Disgraced in the psychiatric hospital where he’d practiced for nearly thirty years, Dr. Walter Freeman has taken to traversing the country and proselyting about a very new kind of salvation: the transorbitol lobotomy. 

With an ice pick and a hammer, Freeman promises to cure depression and catatonia, delusions and psychosis, with a procedure as simple and safe as curing a toothache. 

When he enters the backwater Oklahoma town of Burnwood, however, his own sanity will be tested. Around him swirls a degenerate and delusional cast of characters—a preacher who believes his son to be the Messiah, a demented and violent young prostitute, and a trio of machete-wielding brothers—all weaved into a grotesque narrative that reveals how blind faith in anything can lead to destruction.

Review by Coll, The Queen of All Things Horror
My Rating: 4 Coffee Cups

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

I will be honest and say that I was not sure what to think of this book when I started it. The story follows the lives of several highly disturbing individuals, the main characters of this story, who live in a town full of odd and unbalanced people. The main characters seem to be strangers in the beginning, but over time we see how their lives inevitably intertwine. There is the doctor who “cures” people by performing transorbitol lobotomies with an ice pick, a preacher who swears his son is the messiah, the son trying to live up to being the messiah, and a prostitute whose upbringing has made her deranged and dangerous. The Incurables contains a cast of characters straight out of a dysfunctional nightmare. At first the book disturbed me and made me cringe, and at many times shocked me, but it was not long before I came to terms with the fact that I loved this macabre book. 

The Incurables was creepy. Not in your typically scary, horror story way but in a way where it forces you to see the worst in humanity and really think about it. The storyline and incidents were exaggerated (in a good way) but everything in the book had an underlying truth to it. Bassoff touches on subjects that exist in the real world, which people sometimes choose to avoid analyzing, because they are considered touchy subjects to broach, such as religion, sex, morality, etc. The book shows both the ridiculousness of so many of our actions and the devastating consequences that often times come of them. 

One of the things the book shows so brilliantly is the tendency the human race has to just follow the pack and believe almost anything that is told to them. It shows the scary truth that with enough influence people will believe anything, simply because they are being told by a large number of people that it is the right thing to believe. The Incurables depicts “following the masses” quite befittingly.

The character development in the book is not as in-depth as it could have been, in my opinion, but Bassoff still manages to evoke enough feelings towards the characters and you are made to both love and hate all of them. He found a way to make you feel compassion for each person, no matter how sinister their actions, but then also makes you loathe them at the same time. I found such brilliance in this and it made it hard to really, truly despise anyone completely throughout the book.

I am not going to pretend that this book is not highly unsettling at times and it really does force you to take a deep look into the dark parts of the human race. There are many disturbing moments throughout The Incurbles and it is clearly not the right story for everyone, but as far as my opinion goes though, I really did enjoy this book. When I had that moment of clarity while reading, where I saw what Bassoff was doing with the story and what he was trying to show, I was so impressed in how highly intelligent the book really is.

Overall I thought The Incurables was a wonderfully creepy book that kept an ominous atmosphere the entire time. If you are squeamish or do not enjoy horror then this might not be your ideal read, but anyone who likes sinister noir stories should give this book a go, because you will not regret reading it.

"There would be no more words at all...but what happens when the night is too black, when the moon is crushed to pieces, when screams are the only sign of life?"

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