Review by Noggy Splitfoot and Lola Silkysocks
Welcome to Torrington, Alberta. A wide spot in the blacktop, home to the world-famous Gopher Hole Museum above, and a massive convergence of mystical energy below. When a rogue exorcist acquires a soul translocating relic, the Vatican reluctantly – very reluctantly – turns to the only mercenaries capable of taking it back. The hard-drinking, double-crossing, catastrophe-courting mercenaries that sold it to him in the first place.
Trace and Solomon ought to know better. Church work is always a handshake with the Devil, but this time there’s more than money on the line, and it forces them to question what matters most. In this life, and the next.
Noggy Splitfoot: So, why are we interrupting my day drinking again?
Lola Silkysocks: It would be nice if you took our first paying gig seriously, and it’s 10am for Christ’s sake.
N: You got paid?
L: You didn’t? Nevermind. This is the part where we disclose that in exchange for unspecified remuneration, we are providing a fair and unbiased book review that doesn’t “violate community standards” whatever that means.
N: Okay, so it’s a grey market review. Fair and unbiased is overrated. I think I read that in a book, a philosophy book, or maybe it was a Wikipedia article. Everyone lies about these sorts of things. Objectivism is dead.
L: We’re reviewing a book, not objectivism. Focus.
Speaking of grey area, this is a long short story, or a short novella, or something in those murky waters. I can see why they self-published, not like anyone else would.
N: So, short enough to lack guts and long enough to get boring?
L: You can read it in half an hour is what I’m saying. That was probably my favourite part.
N: Well, the cover has occult symbols and a beaver on it, so I’m thinking it’s about possessed nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodents.
L: Sigh…Noggy, did you read the book?
N: Well, I skimmed the introduction, which made absolutely zero sense, if that’s what you’re asking.
L: You disappoint me, Splitfoot.
N: Because I have better things to do? What are they even paying you? Twenty bucks?
L: No one here is proud. Go read. I’ll wait.
N: Fine. BRB
30 minutes later…
3 days later…
N: Wow, what the hell did I just read? Not even one beaver.
L: Congratulations on finishing the equivalent of an I Can Read book.
N: Looks like Torrington is a real place. Like a prison for undead Richardson’s ground squirrels and other unwanted farm things.
L: The book is like From Dusk ‘til Dawn meets Little House on the Prairie, except Ma and Pa are evil Catholic clergy, the kids are rabid vermin, and Clooney and Tarantino are a trashy couple of grifters on a perpetual road trip in their shitty Winnebago.
N: The bar in the story didn’t have Salma Hayek. Or Machete.
L: Minus a star for that alone. But I like the idea of an evil ashtray that can capture your soul and funnel it into someone or something else
N: Sure, I guess. What kind of cigarettes would Jesus smoke do you think?
L: Had to have been weed. I mean, no one loves everyone, not that much. But back to the story. Did you find anything…familiar about these characters?
N: I guess Trace and Solomon are sort of like us, only Solomon is a lot older and uglier. Like who wears Hawaiian shirts, likes 80’s rock, and drives a 70’s era Winnebago? Not very relatable if you ask me.
L: Yes, he is 100% unlike you in every conceivable way, and Trace is way more dedicated than I am. That’s a lot of hassle just to get an ashtray back from an evil exorcist. I would have abandoned the quest and gone for tacos.
N: The quest is the whole point, dummy. The story is about Trace and Sol getting to Torrington. They need to gather wards and stuff so they can’t be soul swapped. You see a lot of what their relationship is like.
L: Yeah, about that. Why are they even together? They fight all the time and screw… everything up. They’re going to get each other killed sooner or later. Reminds me of the time we got drunk under a bridge skipping stones and you hit a duck.
N: I’m a hell of a lot luckier than Sol, that’s all I’m going to say about that! At least I didn’t try to catch a duckling for a pet. Trace though, she needs a pet something fierce.
L: A lady needs something fuzzy to cuddle in the night. Speaking of…that sex scene in the graveyard was kinda yikes.
N: Sol finally got to pet a beaver.
L: You mean he got attacked by a badger?
N: Right, that.
L: Why would you pet a beaver?
N: Beaver/Badger, point is these authors are sadistic perverts.
L: They do seem to have an axe to grind. Against the church, flightless birds, and humanity in general. Everyone in this story deserves to be ground into hog feed.
N: At least that feels real! So, what was your favourite part?
L: When the 50-foot gopher attacks downtown Torrington. That was badass.
N: Clem T. GoFur!
I liked the crossroads demon scene. I hope they market Carl plushies. They’d sell dozens, probably make a hell of a lot more than selling eBooks.
L: Yeah, like who is this book even for? I was expecting Christian Tentacle Romance and got this trash. An occult heist story loaded with violence and sex and blasphemy.
N: I don’t even know what genre this is supposed to be. Weird Crap? Probably shouldn’t give it a name. Names have power.
But since they’re sort of paying us, well you, I can’t say it’s bad. I’m also not going to say it’s good. Twenty bucks is worth two stars I guess.
L: -1 Flame. Took too long to arrive in the mail and didn’t look like the picture.
N: We’re doing flames, right, totally forgot about that. They go negative? I thought we reserved imaginary numbers for poets and astrophysicists?
L: Rock bottom is for quitters, and these two brought shovels.
N: I do see they labeled it as #1 in a series
L: One more than anyone asked for, so I guess I’ll close us out on that note of despair. And since I’ve got $20 burning a hole in my skirt, I say we go to Arby’s.