You’ve Lost A Lot Of Blood: Eric LaRocca
Reviewed By Priscilla Bettis
You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric LaRocca is a mosaic masterpiece, a fractured novella within a novella. There are also poems, footnotes, transcripts, one news article, editor’s notes, and Easter eggs. Martyr and Ambrose talk murder while Tamsen and Presley become guests at a brilliant game designer’s eerie mansion.
LaRocca is the guru of story titles, and You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood is no exception, sparking readers’ imaginations. He also chooses purposeful character names: Iris, Martyr, Abbas, Tamsen, Presley, Ambrose. Each name has a meaning related to the story. Rather clever on LaRocca’s part.
The pacing is perfect. The dry-ish prologue written by the “editor” in a distant point-of-view ends just before it gets tedious. Transcript sessions become more disturbing over the course of the book, likewise with the poetry. Action scenes ramp up toward the end of the novella within the novella. It’s all so brilliant.
LaRocca refuses to be pigeon-holed into one subgenre. This is an epistolary novella with AI horror and psychological horror, but there are also elements of Gothic horror, weird horror, and steampunk. Creative as heck.
There are issues to ponder long after the last page: our brains and screen time, the nature of the horror genre (both literature and films), parental expectations, and plagiarism vs extrapolation vs originality.
LaRocca’s prose is delicious. Again and again, the reader is hit with beautiful passages of cruelty: “He was nothing more than milkweed to be plucked, a discarded plant to be uprooted and torn by the stem until it lies there quivering in your hand–shaking, trembling, frightened.” The juxtaposition of lyricism and horror is striking and memorable.
As for any negatives, I stumbled over a few point-of-view errors and a couple of typos. There are some repeated verb choices that stuck out (lurch, rake), and there’s a character, Kai, mentioned only once when it didn’t make sense. (A character name-change from a previous draft?) I think the story could have used one more editing pass, and it would have been a smoother read.
Brilliant literary horror. There are some minor, awkward bits, but overall LaRocca’s creativity and symbolic, rich story sets the bar high. Well worth the read, highly recommended.
50% of proceeds from ebook and paperback sales will be donated to @TransLifeline
You’ve Lost A Lot Of Blood
Each precious thing I show you in this book is a holy relic from the night we both perished-the night when I combed you from my hair and watered the moon with your blood.
You’ve lost a lot of blood…
Priscilla Bettis is an avid horror reader and passionate horror author. She’s also an excellent swimmer, which is good because vampires are terrible swimmers. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.
Amazon author page: Priscilla-Bettis