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Book Review: Mr Nasty – Author Leo Darke

Mr-nastyMr. Nasty
By Leo Darke
Samhain Publishing
198 Pages

Tommy Wallace is a supporting extra struggling to make ends meet within the British film industry. With an estranged wife and unresolved past, Tommy has plenty to cope with until a director’s command of Cut! Has never been more profound. A full-fledged blood bath has unleashed on the sets of Tommy’s films the only evidence left behind by the maniacal killer is a VHS copy of assorted ‘video nasties’ in which the murder committed has emulated.

While inspector Slade and his team of detectives races against the clock to catch the diabolical copycat killer, Tommy is faced with a most sinister epiphany that he seems to be the only one exempt from harm while on set. Will the unlikely duo managed to hit rewind and put a stop to the visual monstrosities once and for all? Or will they merely succumb to the immortal prowess of Mr. Nasty?

I’m never ceased to be amazed with the formidable foray of talent that has come out of Samhain Publishing. I was among the many that was gravely disappointed when hearing about the uncertain future of this pressing in facing the inevitable foreclosure of its pages once and for all. I can’t possibly be more elated to catch wind of the fact Samhain is still alive and well and pumping out pulse pounding horror for aficionados and new comers alike.

This will be the first go around that I’ve embarked upon a reading odyssey with Leo Darke at the helm. The British author unveils a trademark dry wit and infectious prose that keeps readers fixated upon the content until the final pages.

Upon first glance one may suspect that an extensive degree of research must have been invested prior to drafting this glorious gore feast. Darke’s eclectic use of film production syntax and verbiage breaths an undeniable sense of authenticity into the pages, indicative to the author’s applied knowledge of the industry. The author is in fact no stranger to being before the lens. Leo Darke has been a supporting actor in such gems as Da Vinci’s Demons, Atlantis and King Arthur and Generation Z. They say one of the carnal rules of writing is to write about what you know. Score one for Leo Darke.

The plot for Mr. Nasty moves at an accelerated pace. Action and escalating plot is relentless. Serious horror buffs will get a kick out of the numerous references to the ‘nasty’ cult pop references such as Evil Dead, The Burning, Tool Box Murders just to name a few. The premise of an old list of banned VHS films (repeatedly being affectionately referred to as The Nasties) from British Congress being exhumed and utilized in copycat fashion is highly imaginative, innovative and original. Box covers being left on the scene along with the victims are the killers’ calling card and we as the reading audience delve further into the plot to see what mayhem may unfold next.

Descriptive in the kill scenes are gruesome, skin crawling gore at its finest. Darke paints a most ominous picture luring the readership directly into the fray of action. Such references as “…..the killer’s face formed a rictus grin of mixed frustration and pleasure deferred…” virtually tattoos horrific imagery onto the brain, making the average reader squirm with unease.

The unlikely duo of Slade and Wallace provides some comedic relief when it’s needed most. Mr. Nasty is moulded with expert precision and focuses not in any over indulgent fashion of strictly terror. We get to know Tommy, Slade, Whitley and a whole host of secondary characters well enough to empathize with each making a possible demise of any of them a trifle bit tough to digest.

At times it may appear as though the allegories may be a bit on the over extravagant side. It’s a necessary evil however to paint the most vivid of pictures. Occasionally there was some minor frustration in the direction a particular reference had taken while being dependent upon allegory. Most readers will skim over these passages and hardly notice. On a universal scale it’s really a non-issue.

Gritty, raw and a final act that is beyond the parameters of surrealism, Mr. Nasty would make an impactful film adaptation. Yet perhaps the most horrific scenes are unleashed directly within our imaginations, scanning the paragraphs, pages and chapters of Mr. Nasty with Leo Darke as the director.

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