“Two in one? What’s up with that shit, Nerd?” is undoubtedly what is crossing your mind at the moment, dear reader, but allow a man to speak on his own behalf before you upturn the table. Also, if your anger is up that fast over a minor break in the routine, you probably have aspberger’s (mid-nineties alt-comics: no need to cite me when you do your anti-Foxworthy “you might have aspberger’s” routine in a Venice Beach laundromat). Thing is, I read Hater last year and didn’t review it, didn’t want to dilute the brand, as the kids say, seeing how it’s not exactly crime. But now that I’m a household name with infinite power and influence (go with me on this one), I say fuck the brand – I’m the Nerd of Noir and I can do whatever I want, when I want…at least when it comes to writing and posting reviews online.
But really, to talk at length about Dog Blood one has to give away the ending of the kick fucking ass Hater, both books part of a post-apoc trilogy by David Moody to be wrapped up some time next year, so to get your skeptical ass interested in this shit I figured I’d first tell you what Hater is about to get you pumped for reading both. And as far as diluting the brand goes? Granted, these are post-apoc books and not crime, but dark and fucked up this shit surely fucking is. People like to throw around Blood Meridian as the most violent book they’ve ever read, but Moody’s non-stop violence and horrifying viscerality left me far more shaken than anything in that “classic” (plus, it’s actually readable to boot!). Might not be crime, but it sure as shit is for the basement crazies.
Hater is the story of Danny McCoyne, a husband and father of three who lives with his family in a shit flat in an unnamed British city. From the first pages of the novel McCoyne is spiteful and toxic, seething all day at his useless job at the parking fines processing office (where every customer is, you know, so fucking pumped to be dealing with you) only to go home and barely provide for your struggling family. Danny’s sad, frustrating routine is eventually broken up by a rash of seemingly random killings. The news reports that people are out of nowhere seeming to just snap, one second they’re whistling fucking dixie, next they are frantically trying to murder everyone around them with whatever’s at hand until someone else (like the cops) kills them instead. Then Danny McCoyne sees it happening in his very neighborhood. Soon enough McCoyne and his family are hunkered down in their flat, trying to wait out the apocalypse, but what if someone in the family is a “hater” themselves?
What makes Hater so effective is the way Moody uses a very narrow perspective to illustrate a fucking massive event. We’re with McCoyne the whole way through this motherfucker, and we get to know every frustrated, petty inch of that guy before he’s thrust into the hell that envelopes the entire country. In a way, Hater sort of reminds me of the early novels of Jason Starr, where we are stuck in the head of an average joe and soon wrapped up in his anxious yet familiar daily struggles for a number of pages until disaster (in Starr’s work it’s usually the character committing a murder, here it’s, you know, the fucking end of times) strikes fucking hardcore-style. There’s never any obnoxious attempt to explain what’s happening, the character isn’t some fucking scientist and doesn’t run into any military generals or some cop-out bullshit along the way – this is simply what would happen to you and your family if such a bizarre event took place in our world.
So you’ve got an edgy, exciting book with blood, guts, and a killer ending that makes perfect, sickening sense. If that doesn’t “make it move” you should either go to the doctor toot-fucking-sweet or thank your parents for raising your milquetoast ass to be a level-headed and well-adjusted but completely fucking uninteresting and generally boring human being with poor taste. But let’s get to Dog Blood now, one of the most relentlessly grim and disgustingly violent books I’ve ever read, if not the most relentlessly grim and disgustingly violent books I’ve read (and yes, I could have made that sentence longer and more hyperbolic but what can I say – I’ve got some fucking restraint some of the time).
All right, so it’s FUCKING SPOILER TIME boys and girls, so brush your teeth and head off to bed if you haven’t read Dog Blood yet.
YOU WERE FUCKING WARNED – DON’T LOOK ANY FURTHER:
Dog Blood follows McCoyne as he hides from the unchanged in the countryside and looks for his little daughter who also turned at the end of Hater. The unchanged have gathered in major urban areas while most of the haters are running in small packs, unable to form major units to viciously fight the unchanged for fear that the unchanged will air raid them. But before he is able to track down his daughter, McCoyne gets taken in by a fairly organized and purposeful group of haters that might just have the sand to wipe out the unchanged once and for all.
Basically, McCoyne is the ultimate anti-hero. The guy’s a fucking hater, for fuck’s sake, one of the people who want nothing more than to kill those that are not like him. We follow him as he brutally chops motherfuckers up with skill and sick glee, same as his brother and sister haters alike. Where most writers would have made the focus of such a premise one of the unchanged and their fights for survival, Moody has fascinatingly decided to buck convention and make the story about the bad guys. Thing is, you fucking want McCoyne to succeed, you want him to get his daughter back so the two of them can, I dunno, fucking run around killing motherfuckers together like a happy little family of two. And when you find out the master plan that the big-time haters have in the works, you actually kinda want that shit to work out too. This is some fucked up, morally ambiguous and often pornographically violent shit.
And I am not exaggerating when I say that shit, dear reader. The climax of Dog Blood is one of the most non-stop, insanely brutal yet immensely thrilling sequences of sustained chaos and violence I have ever read, made all the more disturbing by the fact that…well, I don’t want to spoil it.
END OF SPOILERS, WAKE UP, KIDDIES, AND READ THE FUCKING WRAP UP ALREADY:
But beyond the shock and sordid details of this series the Nerd wants to commend Moody for his no-bullshit approach to the sci-fi genre. Here is a series of books that doesn’t even remotely get caught up in technobabble bullshit or needlessly complicated concepts. Moody just came up with a kick ass, fairly believable, recognizable-within-the-real-world premise and took it to its very extremes in simple plain english, never blinking or flinching at any of the choices that clearly had to be addressed by such a fucked up character and story. If anybody knows of any dark, trangressive sci fi that comes anywhere near what Moody accomplishes here, let the Nerd know. This is my kind of shit, dear reader, and you’d be well-fucking served to get your hands on this bit of nastiness immediately.