Review: Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works, volume 2, Jon Richter

Link to Amazon: Jon Richters Disturbing Works

Reviewed March 2020 by DG as part of the Blackthorn Book Tour

Twitter: @richterwrites


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Danger, Transformation, Mutilation…

These are haunting tales but not at all of the spooky, wistful, asthenic variety.  They are muscular and physical. They reverberate with energy.  Come here! Hey – faster! Look at this! Don’t blink!  And so you find yourself running pell mell through Jon Richter’s high octane, twisted universe. Trouble is, a lot of it looks (though you may pass it so quickly you cannot check) suspiciously like that familiar world you were living in complacently yesterday: 

  • That problem we were having with the rubbish, dear? Did the council ever fix it?
  • You forgot to phone them? I know, sweetie, it’s because you’re not sleeping well : I wonder if I could find you an alternative therapist… 
  • I know! I’ll ask my Alexa upgrade! Dead nifty… whatever would I do without it? 

Out of such familiar scenarios – and few more exotic ones – come dark disturbing stories of danger, transformation, mutilation.  Jon Richter’s universe is one where the hunter can turn to the hunted in a moment; fragile bodies can be torn apart, impaled, even eaten; piles of rubbish can heave (like a rotting womb or stomach) into lurid, festering life. The whole world, initially so concrete and familiar, can be turned inside out. 

It’s not a book for the faint hearted, though it’s sweetly restrained in a few dimensions – there is no sexual violence here, no vamps or virgin victims; people drink tea (this is set in Britain for goodness sake!) and they mostly care about their relatives.  I have a strong suspicion that despite the mutilated bodies that he keeps in the larder and his dodgy approach to recycling, Jon Richter is probably a bloke who is kind to his mum, rather good at quizzes, and I would cheerfully go to the pub with*.

Well, anyway…. he’s certainly worth a read: writes well and tells a cracking good story.  Pacey, witty, transgressive, inventive. So if you drink your fiction black, strongly brewed, and with just a few crystals of sugar – and especially if you’ve got a positive relationship with your kitchen appliances and would never set off on a cross-country run without a spare wooden leg and a machete-scale Swiss Army knife – you will find that this book sits well on your bookshelves.

Anyway, I bought a copy. It was a bargain. OK. The stories are dark, and seriously they’ve disturbed me. Haven’t slept or eaten since, and I’ve started to worry about Alexa. But, hey, you should buy a copy too. (You ever noticed how people always want to drag you into the hole they’re in…?)

* Disclaimer: OK. About that pub-and-quizzes comment… Don’t count on me with that one. I’m a fantasist. I know nothing about this bloke. (Really I should have saved the ‘Author Bio’ which that nice Ms Blackthorn sent me. Should at least have read itI’m supposed to be on one of her important Book Tours with this). Hmmm. So I’m not going to commit myself to that he’s-probably-a-nice-bloke’ thing, OK? Scrap that bit. I mean, crikey, for all I’ve bothered to find out, he might be a raging psychopath, his hands permanently shackled behind him, in a high security ward of some secret asylum, writing with a pen in his mouth, poked through a safety grill they have to keep padlocked over his teeth… OK, OK, Ill be careful: I’ve promised the kids. I might just go down the pub with him, you know, quick pint, half an hour, public place, but I’m definitely going to do a risk assessment before I let him sell me any pills, invite me on a marathon or rent my basement.

Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works, Volume 2, Jon Richter

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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