The Drive-Thru Crematorium: Jon Bassoff
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: Eraserhead Press (1 Aug. 2019)
I don’t think authors who write Bizarro fiction get enough credit in the literary world. Now granted this is coming from a reader who has only read a grand total of three Bizarro releases in his lifetime. The first two were both from Danger Slater and were outstanding. The third is this book here: The Drive-Thru Crematorium.
Bizarro is a funny beast in that I’ve found you need to suspend your belief in how normal society responses would occur and that the characters in the stories all serve a singular purpose – to drive the book to strange and unexpected places.
I’ve also found that reviewing Bizarro books is next to impossible. Really anything you mention that happens further along in the book will act as a spoiler or will give away plot points so far in advance that things that occur later on will be revealed. A reviewer’s conundrum to be sure.
So let’s keep things simple – the story starts out very straight forward and when I read it I could almost picture Bassoff thinking of the idea and going from there.
Stanley Maddox has been working as a loan’s underwriter at the same firm for many years. He has a wife and they live in a nice house. Then one day he arrives at work and nobody knows who he is. Even his boss, who we are informed, gave him compliments about the handling of a loan the prior week, doesn’t have the foggiest clue as to who Stanley is.
While most of us would think we were being pranked or wonder just what was going on, Stanley lets it slide. He lets it slide when they tell him that he won’t be paid anymore and he lets it slide when they get rid of his office. You see, Stanley, being a bit of a pushover, keeps coming into work for free to do his job, hoping they’ll take notice and hire him back on.
We also get some details about a rabbit his wife keeps spotting in the house and a new guy who she’s brought home, named Jeff.
Now, as for the title, Bassoff gently introduces this while Stanley is heading to the mall one night. Stanley gets stuck in line and can’t drive away. Then he arrives at a booth, gives his reply and the curtains open.
I really can’t say much else without giving away major spoilers.
This book was a fantastic time. Bassoff completely has a mastery of writing bonkers while reigning it in so the story flows and because of that ability, the story doesn’t ever go off the tracks.
I think this is another great start for people who haven’t made the Bizarro plunge. Fun characters, crazy premise and a narrative that unrolls as easily as your cat stealing a roll of toilet paper.
The Drive-Thru Crematorium
Stanley Maddox lives a mundane life in a nondescript town. His wife is cheating on him, his colleagues at work don’t recognize him, and he has recently noticed a mysterious creature darting its way through his house. When he notices a flap of skin on his face, he begins pulling. Beneath his skin lies another person, an evil person, with the power to change his life forever.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…