What happens when you throw a dodgy film director, a good-hearted kid with a love for old-school horror movies, a badass chick with Daddy issues, a haunted private eye and a homicidal pig-monster into an isolated town? Well, aside from the obvious insanity and gore, you get a rollicking good read, that’s what.
Patrick Lacey’s latest novel Bone Saw bursts out of the blocks with the speed of a rampaging B-movie monster and doesn’t let up. The novel’s protagonist, Liam Carpenter, isn’t exactly enjoying life. His girlfriend has left him for the bright lights of fame and fortune in the big city, his best mate is dating a real bitch, and he’s soon to be out of work. The only thing left for him to do is pack another cone and re-watch some of his favourite Bone Saw movies. And that’s exactly what he’s doing when the novel sets the tone early with a clever orientation that introduces the monster and gives readers some insight into Liam’s life.
From here, Lacey gets to work introducing the players inhabiting his stage. I’m not going to go through them in detail and list all their quirks and foibles – Lacey does a fine job of that – but it’s fair to say this cast of characters definitely sets the stage for his plot to maul, dismember and mutilate its way through the town of Bass Falls.
One of the things I really love about this novel is the Pigfoot (obviously). Lacey knows his monster is the showpiece of his tightly plotted and rapidly paced novel. Not only does he show it to us straight away – something I’ve always loved in a good horror – he uses it to great effect. Pretty much every time the monster is on the page it just oozes violence and carnage in a way that’s so hostile you’re expecting it to tear through everything it faces – and it usually does.
‘The Pigfoot grunted and spat something slimy onto the ground. There were no zippers of any kind along its dirt-covered body. It wasn’t a guy in a costume, no matter how badly Liam wanted to believe it. It was real and it was coming to eat them.’
As the Pigfoot tears through town and the novel approaches its blood-drenched climax, you really have to appreciate some of the unexpected surprises Lacey throws in. With this novel, he’s absolutely nailed the cathartic blend of over-the-top silliness and blood-spattered violence that makes so many old-school creature features bloody solid entertainment. This novel is fun to read, and it seems to me that Lacey had fun writing it.
I read most of this on the lounge in a shopping centre while the wife shopped and I enjoyed it so much that when she considered calling it quits and heading home so that I didn’t have to be bored, I convinced her to shop longer just so I could sit there and finish it. It’s a real page-turner. The slick narrative and rapid-fire chapters just encouraged me to rip through it like…well…like the Pigfoot rips through people. (Sorry – it was that dreadful pun or one about a bone saw. I’m a Dad, what can I say?)
As for the climax of the novel, let me put it this way. Anything reminiscent of one of the most fun and over the top episodes of Regular Show on record is cool with me. For completely honest reasons, so much of me hopes that was an intentional move on Lacey’s part. It would probably make me like this book even more. Who am I kidding? It would definitely make me like this book more.
Go and buy this one. It’s a wildly entertaining read with tonnes of gore, a few surprises, and a climax that’d be right at home on the big screen.
I give it five out of five disembowelled deadbeats.