Sunday 15 February 2015

REVIEW: David Bernstein / Adam Cesare / Shane McKenzie / Kristopher Rufty - Jackpot

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 23rd Sept 2014
Pages: 142


A copy of Jackpot was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is it.

Booker is a serial killer. He wants to win the lottery. He picks his numbers by randomly selecting victims, torturing them, and using their ages for his numbers. Tonight’s jackpot is over $200 million and he has just won it.

Enter Frank. He is a lowest of the low lawyer who wants a slice of the winnings. He intends to get his share by offering his services to Booker, or to be more exact, conning him and also expecting to play on the fact he thinks Booker is none too intelligent.

Enter Winona. This meek little old lady believes the money should be hers. She intends to get her hands on it by any means necessary, using her inbred family to help.

The hunter, Booker, has now become the hunted. Who will finally get their hands on the cash and at what cost?

Well now. Where do I start with this one? Definitely do not open this to read as you sit down to eat. What we have here is the definition of a gore fest. Torture on virtually every page. Blood on every page. Large amounts of blood I may add. Some of the subject matter in this story is probably at the very extreme of the spectrum of my tolerance levels. But do you know what? I “bloody” loved every bit of it!

The first thing that struck me about Jackpot is that although this is a collaboration from four different authors, you would never ever guess it. It is seamless. It is so well put together I challenge anyone other than the authors themselves to tell me who wrote which part. It all flows and fits together perfectly.

Next thing is the characters. Booker, the serial killer, is a horrible, vile individual. But, I challenge you again, this time not to like him. He’s just a harmless, slightly backward young man that wants to win the lottery. The fact he picks his numbers by torturing and killing people should be neither here nor there. Frank, the lawyer, is just as vile. All he wants is a slice of the money and will stop at nothing to get his hands on it. Winona is just a frail old lady that likes playing the lottery and eating ice cream. Or is she? Any other characters that play the minor roles fit like a glove in the rest of the story.

From the very first page, this story just takes off and doesn’t let up. It’s fast paced with little interludes to let you get your breath back. Only thing is these little interludes still include plenty of blood. There are three different angles to the story from the points of view of Booker, Frank and Winona. They all follow their own paths of destruction before all combining seamlessly for a finale that, if this was a movie, would include enough blood and guts to fill an Olympic size swimming pool.

Ever seen Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses? If you haven’t you really should. If you have seen it then the atmosphere and feel of Jackpot reminded me a lot of it. It has all the horror you would want in a horror novel but strikes me as being done in the same tongue in cheek way. If this is what the authors meant then they have done a damn good job of it.

To summarise: Blood. Horror. Chases. Vile characters, beautifully written that come together perfectly to make a perfect horror read in my opinion. This has definitely inspired me to read more from each of the four authors involved be it on their own or again as a collaboration. I would like to quote to you, the last three words that made me smile the most in a story with an abundance of its own dark humour:

“……….to be continued…….”

General rating:

★★★★★ Absolutely loved it. Highest recommendation'

Horror rating:

★★★★★ I need a change of pants.

You can buy Jackpot here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Synopsis:

What if a serial killer won the lotto?

Booker has been playing the Powerball for years, randomly picking victims off the street and using their ages as his lucky numbers, carving the digits into their heads. He has come up empty time and time again. But tonight? He feels lucky.

And when the ping pong balls are drawn, Booker realizes he is over $200,000,000 richer.

But a serial killer winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as Booker soon learns he’s become the one with the target on his back- from a scumbag, ambulance-chasing lawyer to a group of backwoods inbreds who believe the money is right-fully theirs.

With the hunter becoming the hunted, Booker must use his skills as a killer to outkill and outwit all who become between him and his winnings.

I am a dark fiction writer, a horror writer. I write the gamut, from atmospheric horror to extreme gory horror to dark fiction and dark thriller, oh, and the occasional bizarro tale. 

You can see more of David at his website.

David's author page is here.

Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and Film at Boston University.

His stories have been featured in numerous publications, including Shroud Magazine, while his nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, Fangoria and other venues.

You can see more of Adam at his website.

Adam's author page is here.

Shane McKenzie is the author of Infinity House, All You Can Eat, Bleed on Me, Jacked, Addicted to the Dead, Muerte Con Carne, Escape from Shit Town (co-authored with Sam W. Anderson and Erik Williams), Fat Off Sex and Violence, Pus Junkies, Stork, Fairy, The Bingo Hall, Parasite Deep, and many more to come. 

He also writes comics for Zenescope Entertainment. 

He wrote the script for a short film entitled M is for Matador, filmed by LuchaGore Productions, which was selected by DraftHouse Films to be included in the DVD The ABCs of Death 1.5. LuchaGore Productions will be filming a short film based on the first chapter of his novel Muerte Con Carne, entitled El Gigante. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife and daughter. 

He will find you and he will cut you.

You can see more of Shane at his website.

Shane's author page is here.

Kristopher Rufty is the author of Angel Board, The Lurkers, Pillowface, A Dark Autumn, and Oak Hollow. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood.

He hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film. 

But what he's best at is being married to his high school sweetheart and the father of two crazy children who he loves dearly. Together, they reside in North Carolina with their hulk-like dog,Thor, and numerous cats.

You can see more of Kristopher at his website.

Kristopher's author page is here.

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