Lovegun – Gavin Jefferson
Reviewed by Ben Walker
Gavin Jefferson’s Lovegun comes with a warning from the author, right there on page one. If you don’t like the cover of the book, you should just walk away, because you won’t like the story. Honestly, I don’t like that cover, but before I go all Simon Cowell here, I do like the blurb. It comes across like some kind of comedy action romp with weird, body-horror elements.
The reality is that this first volume in the ‘Lit’ Grindhouse series reads like a joke stretched paper-thin across 90 pages. A man walks into a vasectomy clinic and ends up with a gun implanted in his dick. Then he’s made to kill people with it. You can almost see the thought process, someone made a joke about firing blanks probably, and lo and behold, a story was born. The penis is mightier than the sword.
It’s an idea with some amusing parts – Mark’s wang gives a little silencer noise when he shoots his load, ho ho, and he poops out the bullet casings – but the idea isn’t funny enough to carry the story. After he causes more than just a sticky mess with his first killer orgasm, the rest of the tale is pretty mundane. Mark is a grown man living with his mum, hoping for a more interesting life. He wants to get a job in a chip shop. That’s about it in terms of motivation, the assassin plotline plays out like a mild inconvenience to his everyday troubles. Things happen that should be devastating, or at the very least concerning, but Mark just trundles through from one scene to the next, mostly thinking with, instead of about, what’s between his legs. There’s not enough about him to make you want to see him fail or succeed, or anything in-between. And most of what you get is very middle of the road.
There’s a wee bit of horror in the idea of wanking out a bullet into people’s faces. One scene, in particular, has Mark desperately tugging at his old lad, right into the bloodied mouth of one of his victims. You might muster a small grimace when the scene climaxes in what I can only describe as a killer blowjob WINK WINK, but that’s about as affecting as this story gets. It just doesn’t go far enough with its idea to be as shocking or bizarre as it could have been. It definitely doesn’t feel like a grindhouse story.
Mark is also something of a missed opportunity. There are no consequences for his actions, and he shrugs off pretty much anything that happens to him. From the botched operation to personal tragedies, to the murders he’s involved with or the lives he’s potentially ruining. Even the risk to others as he blithely lets people suck his deadly pecker, with no thought for what might happen if he accidentally blew their head off. With no concern, no feeling of jeopardy from characters or story alike, it’s hard to invest in any of it. Mark is led from one low-key set piece to another, until the final few pages in which nobody has learned anything and nothing’s really changed that much.
Suffice to say, Lovegun is a total misfire.
After waking from a vasectomy, Mark – a middle-aged loner – learns that due to a bizarre surgical augmentation, his penis now fires bullets.
Blackmailed by his surgeon, he must travel the country and use his tool to assassinate a list of hand-picked targets.
Mark’s a hitman now, but can he ‘pull the trigger?’
A horror fan and writer since who knows when, Ben started dabbling in online reviews around 2001. Nowadays he has a booktube channel, which features bizarre book reviews and further nonsense. When he isn’t writing, he’s probably looking at GIFs and eating Mexican food.
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