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    QUEER READS THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO DARK PLACES THIS HALLOWEEN

    If you’re up for a good scare, I’ve listed some LGBT+ books designed to disturb. Some of them I’m too chicken shit to read especially those of the flesh trade and serial killing variety because those are some very real monsters.

    Read if you dare…

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    Are You Loathsome Tonight? – Poppy Z. Brite

    Tales of “fearlessly offbeat” horror from the author of Lost Soulsand Exquisite Corpse (Locus).

    Poppy Z. Brite, an acclaimed horror fan favorite, is known for going to the edge and back—and this collection of stories, many set against the backdrop of the author’s native New Orleans, explores the outermost regions of murder, sex, death, and religion.

    Featuring titles such as “In Vermis Veritas,” “Entertaining Mr. Orton,” and “Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz,” as well as collaborations with Christa Faust and David Ferguson, this volume also offers notes on each story by the author, an introduction by #1 NewYork Times–bestselling author Peter Straub, and an afterword by Caitlín R. Kiernan. Are You Loathsome Tonight? is an edgy, gruesome tour of “the darkness at the heart of things [with] a number of superb stories, powerful in style and characters” (Locus)

    Happy Halloween!!!

    It’s time to bust out Poppy Z. Brite. 

    Poppy and Clive Barker were my go-to authors back when I was still in my horror phase. This collection of shorts with the lovely title of Are You Loathsome Tonight? is a potent brew of gay, gore, sex and violence with a ghost or two coming back for more. 

    I had fun and a bit of nostalgic pleasure creeping myself out with the kind of stories I used to read. Blood and violent deaths I could deal but the thing that made me tsk in disapproval is Poppy’s tendency to objectify Thai ladyboys and Asian twinks, treating them as nothing more than exotic pieces of meat to be fucked and eviscerated by serial killing white boys. Let’s put this sad trope to rest, shall we?

    In Vermis Veritas: In which a maggot contemplates his existence and rejoices in being a maggot. Well, enjoy your meal.

    Arise: Washed up British pop star faked his own death and is now hiding in Gabon. Receives a missive from former band mate to come to North Carolina where he found new inspiration thus giving new meaning to the phrase making a comeback.

    Saved: Billy who get off at guns and violence hires an Asian submissive to do his bidding. Asian sub complies, sex play ensues and Billy’s trigger finger twitches. Gratuitous.

    King of Cats: A shifter version of The Poor Miller’s Apprentice and the Cat in which Nick, the apprentice, preferred the company of cats to the humdrum life of a miller. Can’t blame you, Nick.

    Self-Made Man: Yet another Asian gay boy falls prey to blonde, blue-eyed Justin, a lonely cannibal who just wants a living boy to call his own. That twist in the climax was unexpected but at least they got their revenge.

    Pin Money: A stab at historical featuring French-Chinese Perique and his complicated relationship with his father. Interesting characters and setting. I would love to read this as a full length novel.

    America: Two-man band on the road share tall tales. This is really more of a sketch than a story and possibly, a shout-out to Lovecraft.

    Entertaining Mr. Orton: Featuring two sets of couples, one, old queens in a relationship that has long since expired and the other, young men still very much in love. Goes from sad, bitter and tired to fresh, cute and sweet.

    Monday’s Special: Another sketch where Mr. Brite becomes Dr. Brite as Poppy indulges in a fantasy where he took a different career path. Stick to you day job, Poppy. 

    Vine of the Soul: Adorable couple, Trevor and Zach from Drawing Blood, celebrates the coming of the new millennium in Amsterdam with a new concoction of chemicals. Powder sniffing aside, this is the fluffiest story of the collection.

    Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz: Putting a twist on the historical events of the WWI era where the ghost of Francis Ferdinand goes on a hunt for the author of his assassination. I like the usual standard fare of serial killings interwoven with actual historical tidbits but the execution lack oomph.

    Are You Loathsome Tonight?: The title piece paints a sordid picture of Elvis’ decline and demise for our morbid pleasure. TMI on Elvis’ bowel movement and hygiene practices. I’m more of a Beatles fan.

    Rating:
    In Vermis Veritas – 4 Stars
    Arise – 4 Stars
    Saved – 4 Stars
    King of Cats – 3.5 Stars
    Self-Made Man – 3.5 Stars
    Pin Money – 4 Stars
    America – 3 Stars
    Entertaining Mr. Orton – 4 Stars
    Monday’s Special – 3 Stars
    Vine of the Soul – 4.5 Stars
    Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz – 2.5 Stars
    Are You Loathsome Tonight? – 3.5 Stars

    Overall:  

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Said the Spider to the Fly
    Artist: The Paper Chase
    Album: God Bless Your Black Heart

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22797096-are-you-loathsome-tonight)

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    Exquisite Corpse – Poppy Z. Brite

    A terrifying novel of love and slaughter set in London and New Orleans.

    To serial killer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from a life sentence in prison, he makes his way to America with the intention of bringing his art to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, he inadvertently joins forced with Jay, a dissolute playboy. They set their sights on a young Vietnamese-American runaway, whom they deem to be the perfect victim. Moving from the grimy streets of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the decadences of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Poppy Z. Brite dissects the landscape of torture and invites us into the mind of a serial killer in this riveting, unforgettable masterpiece of horror.

    This for me is an absolute gem of a book. It has one of the best love stories I ever read, a love story between two male serial killers. So achingly beautiful, so damn gory. It is indeed a masterpiece.

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6015241-exquisite-corpse)