Chop Shop – Andrew Post
Reviewed By Brian Bogart
Sometimes, books do themselves a disservice by trying to breed a melting pot of genres together. A dash of thriller here, some mystery there, sprinkle in some crime components- and you either have a wonderful stew that can satisfy all discerning tastes… or you have some leftover remnants of what could have been, gnawing at your gut with every bite.
Andrew Post did have me worried here, for at least a little while. But, when the main course was finally served, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Post’s newest from Flame Tree Press, CHOP SHOP, dances that fine line between genres, with gut-punches of black humour and some well-written bits of gore, without overdoing it. We have the Mafia (both Russian and Italian variety), two down-on-their-luck funeral directors, and a surgeon for the Mafia who inadvertently become embroiled in the black market. Illegal organs, to be exact. What should have been a simple operation to save a man’s life quickly spins out of control.
This book moves at a brisk pace, once the shit hits the fan. There are a few moments that slow down just enough to get the pawns fleshed out a bit. At times, a bit like Sopranos, with a twisted sense of humour. It reads similar to pulp fiction. The author steeps as much of this fiction in reality as possible, which does tend to make the ride more believable and better still, more enjoyable.
Post cobbles together two main arcs and several characters, eventually tying them together as the pages turn. He does a great job of doing that (that was where the worry came in, honestly). Post can spin a good yarn, once he gets the pieces on the board. You can tell he enjoys knocking them back down, too. While I personally did find the ending to be serviceable, the wrap-up wasn’t a complete “hit” to me- I am sure some will disagree. Hell, I might even be in the minority.
To me, it just felt a bit rushed- but perhaps it was the speed at which all of their worlds unravelled that made it seem so. Zoom zoom zoom and BOOM. Over and done, son. Life can be like that, as well.
So, if you’re looking for a summer read to fill in the gaps between the usual horror, here’s a simple checklist for you:
1. Illegal body parts trafficking.
2. The Mafia.
3. Dark humour and a small, but lingering, touch of the ole necrophilia.
4. Betrayals, bloodbaths- and beyond! (Couldn’t resist)
5. Written by a man who has been mistaken for Rob Zombie numerous times (from his author blurb).
Yep. That list checks out.
Andrew Post has done a fine job with this. Easy to read and entertaining.
CHOP SHOP is open for business.
Don’t mind the mess and watch your step- business has been a bit too good lately.
Amber Hawthorne and Jolene Morris, roommates and business partners at the Hawthorne Funeral Home, are drowning in debt.
Because both young women have trouble keeping their partying habits in line, they start selling body parts on the black market to keep their business alive – and their new buyers seem friendly and trustworthy enough at first.
That is until the dead gangster they’ve recently parted up turns out to have been full of disease.
Now Amber and Jolene’s buyers want something else to make up for lost profits, leaving the two undertakers to learn sometimes running your own business can cost you an arm and a leg.
Brian Bogart is an American author of dark fiction and horror/fantasy. He has written stories most of his life and has been a fan of the genre since the age of seven. His approach to storytelling is a tad macabre at times but tries to capture the nuances of humanity and sometimes, inhumanity, beneath the surface. He supports the horror community with bloodied open arms and demonic vigour.
Dream Darkly and Keep Writing.
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