Genre Horror Publisher Biting Dog Press Year Published 2007 Review Posted on 8/26/2007 Reviewer Rating
9 out of 10
Disposal, by Jeff Strand
Reviewed by Adrienne Jones
If you've read this book, why not
It sucks being a criminal, especially if you're the protagonist in a Jeff Strand story, because he's gonna toss you around like a broken kite in the wind. Frank is an armed robber and a confident, self-proclaimed scumbag. A simple guy with simple needs, Frank's about as deep as a soap dish. But when he robs the wrong woman on the wrong night, what little depth Frank has is tested, layer by agonizing layer.
Promising a night of debaucherous sex, Gretchen talks Frank into killing her husband. Problem is, no matter what form of murder Frank tries, Gretchen's husband remains in the not quite dead yet category. This simple plot is the perfect springboard for a dark comedy so smartly funny that laughing through bodily mutilation is your only option.
Though the plot concept is simple, it doesn't stay that way, with unexpected twists and turns in a scenario that should have been predictable. Blame this on Strand's pacing, as his sense of comedic timing is finely tuned. The author knows how to work the reader, never jolting you out of your suspension of disbelief, no matter how outrageous and over the top the plot gets.
This has much to do with character development, achieved mainly through dialogue, both internal and external; lines like 'I almost liked this old guy, except that he'd stolen my gun and taken a leak on me.' Frank, our anti-hero is fully fleshed, not a piece missing, and we connect with him more and more as the story progresses. Despite his unredeemable creep status, you can't not be charmed by this guy. He's like the lovechild of Scarface and Moe from "The Three Stooges."
There are plenty of authors trying to write speculative fiction with a humor twist, but very few that can meld situational comedy and over the top content with genuinely smart writing. Strand's got the full deck, and he shuffles it masterfully in Disposal; quite a task considering all the bodily fluids he had flying about. But trust me. This read is well worth the shower you have to take when it's all over.