Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Long Last Call

So, yesterday I read The Long Last Call by John Skipp. I have been eagerly awaiting the Leisure Books paperback edition of this one, since I started reading Skipp and Spector books on the recommendation of Pod of Horror reviewer Scott Bradley.

This was a fun book to read and a textbook in lightning characterization. In brief, The Long Last Call is an encounter between a dark stranger and a group of strip club employees and patrons, just before closing time. The dark stranger is charismatic, handsome and rich enough to drive the greedy souls into fits. He's also some kind of satanic entity. He wants a private show and is willing to pay big money for it. Unfortunately, just touching his slimy green cash is enough to bring out your dark side... your REALLY dark side. Hilarity ensues. lol

The setup was great. Superb writing, cinematic feel (no surprise since it started life as a screenplay) and an interesting cast of characters. Worth a read for any horror fan.

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If you want to read THE LONG LAST CALL, stop reading now. I am just jotting down my impressions and would love to discuss the book with others. So buy it. Read it. And then come talk to me. =)




However, towards the end, it did get a bit cartoonish for my tastes. The eyes popping out, the EYES GONE BLACK (complete with caps), and the ease with which people rip each other up went just a bit too far. I re-read the last two dozen pages, and maybe I am being too critical. I enjoyed the read, but I felt like it lost some gravitas once the blood started to flow.

Maybe it is because I just read The Clean-Up, but as soon as the business with Mom as angel started, I had a good idea where this story would go. Skipp delivers excellent twists and diversions, sending her out of the bar into the hands of the murderous chauffeur. I thought for sure she was toast, but once she made it back in, I was pretty sure that good would triumph over evil. In some ways TLLC is a religious thriller, rather than a horror novel. Sure there is some gross shit and some evil stuff, but (Like the Clean-Up) there is a strong morality play element.

My last criticism involves the character Daisy. I feel like Skipp flinched when it came to dealing with her and the bouncer. Given everything else that goes on in this book, I don't think it would have been over the top. Glossing over it robbed the book of some horror, just as other action was getting a little cartoon-ish.

The Long Last Call was a good, quick read, but I think I am ready for something meaner.
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