…but it succeeds…beautifully.
For starters, the title You Morbid Westphal is setting up the three main characters. You…as in you…yes, you, Morbid, a malicious little beastie, and Westphal, who’s just trying to get through the graveyard shift at the hospital you’re in. These are the three main characters and they share the piece in circular stories. The “you” portions of the book read like a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” book…placing you right in the action. You’re responsible for birthing Morbid. You’re not going to have a very good night. You’re experiencing it as it unfolds. This style is not my typical fare, but I was captivated by it. I loved seeing what havoc was unfurling around my world. Meanwhile you get the other two stories (obviously connected). One follows Morbid as he indulges his macabre whims and the coke-addled Westphal. Should you find yourself in a hospital, pray it isn’t this one. In fact, I’m not above the cliché…I’ll say it: You Morbid Westphal does for hospitals what Jaws did for beach getaways!
Steven Rage is a masterful storyteller. He weaves a world that his painted in black and white hues, where anything can happen (and often does), and his brutally visceral. I realize that this is a horror tale…I guess you could call it that. It’s got more emotion than your typical horror fare. I felt the emotional rollercoaster travel from repulsed to humored to moved and back again. And the end…well, I’m not the one to spill the beans, but rest assured, you’ll not know what is in store for “You” until you reach the final pages.
My biggest complaint with the book was the length. I craved more, which is a wonderful thing, and wanted to see more of the story fleshed out. I make no bones about it…I’m a longer fiction type person. But I never dismiss a solid story, and this was certainly that. The fact that I wanted more should attest to the quality.
Too, at first I was a little confused with the circular-style storytelling. It’s a three ring circus…not a crazy train that has too many clashing storylines…but in the beginning it is a little confusing.** Please keep reading, though. In the end it’s worth it all and Steven Rage does bring it together nicely.
If you like your horror visceral pick this up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.