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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story I'm Sticking To,
I started The First One You Expect a few minutes after purchasing it, was just going to read a couple chapters before turning in early, but then I didn't stop. I should have known that's how it would happen. All of his books have become one of my new favorites while still in the middle of reading, and this isn't the first one I've done in one sitting either.
Cesare's name guaranteed I was going to read this book. It being a crime story involving a low budget horror film maker didn't hurt either. Horror's my main thing. And crime, anyway you paint it (giallo, harboiled, noir), it's pretty much second. But this one, particularly, hit home in spots.
There's this moment early on:
"There are numbers on their spines. If they weren't numbered, didn't line up so nicely on a shelf, I wouldn't have a hundred fifty dollars worth of Blu-ray discs in my online shopping cart."
Yep. Exactly. Sometime, I don't know when, really, but around the time that the Criterion collection neared number 200, I guess, I gave up any hope of having an OCD-pretty completist type of library. That, and it's kept me from looking too closely at spines ever since, kept me from knowing what other collections/lines might have the same thing going on, though I've caught myself staring at the Scream Factory logo a few times, similar thoughts rising up. And the bit about having awesome posters hidden in tubes due to lack of framing? I'm there, yeah. Tony? I can relate to him on a couple of levels, could have maybe been him had things gone differently (I guess "I had asked the right girl to the prom"), so I wasn't going anywhere with this one. Like I said, I read it in one sitting.
If you dig crime and horror, you're going to love this. And if you are making or want to make independent horror films, man, I'd say this is required reading. Think of this as your after school special, the supercool horror-lore version.
"Thanks for watching."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wicked little slice,
Adam Cesare's latest novella is a wicked slice of life from the point of view of a micro-budget film maker whose new production is going to take him places. Whether or not they're places he wants to go, he's about to discover. The First One You Expect is everything you'd expect from Cesare: gripping tension and splatterpunk sensibility driven by the great characterization, wry humor, and deep knowledge of classic horror cinema that is his signature style.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slice of noir-fueled horror,
Adam Cesare’s THE FIRST ONE YOU EXPECT is a tense slice of noir-infused horror, a microbudget slasher film-fueled dose of tension, anxiety, violence, and wicked consequences.
We follow a young film director and his friend who encounter a beautiful and dangerous girl who sets this story spinning into a nightmarish world that’ll keep you turning those pages until the credits roll. Cesare knows the world of low-budget horror, knows how to pull us into a story that seems to be happening right now, swirling with social media references, detail upon detail, and inner dialogue that sings, makes this book both believable and hard to put down. You'll want to read this one quick, probably won't have much of a choice. It'll haunt you.
If you're a horror fan who is looking for something that dissects and probes the dark side of the production of an extremely low-budget flick--using that as a premise (a damn good one, too), or a crime fiction reader looking for something dark and dirty, Cesare is sure to satisfy. And, the next time you find yourself clicking through some obscurely titled and tagged horror video on Youtube, find yourself watching some particularly gruesome scene, something that looks, feels so real--gets your blood pumping--you might think twice, might find yourself stepping away, turning on the lights, or taking a closer look as you try to wipe the blood from your hands. The blood does look real, yeah? Keep watching.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adam Cesare has established himself as one of the greats!,
Horror writers beware! You know that idea for a story that has been kind of lingering in your head, the one where you take your favorite sub-genre of horror movie and turn it into a novel, and how excited you are because it hasn’t really been done yet and it’ll be your big splash into the horror fiction community? Well, my friends, I’m sorry to tell you, but Adam Cesare has not only beaten you to the idea, but he’s probably written a better story too.
With The First One You Expect, Cesare yet again shows not only his passion and knowledge of the ins and outs of the genre, but he is able to turn it into a riveting and original story that holds a bit of a mirror up to many of us horror fiends. And if you look into that mirror, with the right kind of eyes, you’ll notice you’re smiling.
If you read my review of The Summer Job, or have ever talked to me about books, you know that I am a big fan of Adam Cesare’s work. In my opinion (and in many others’ as well), he is one of the top horror writers around right now. But this time around, he’s working with Broken River Books, a brand new crime publisher just started up by J. David Osborne (author of 2010 Wonderland Award winner By the Time We Leave Here, We’ll Be Friends and, one of my favorite books, Low Down Death Right Easy), one that is already seeing a lot of early success. And so The First One You Expect is more of a crime story, but using the horror world as a backdrop.
Tony Anastos is our protagonist, an independent, low budget horror film maker. When they aren’t working at the local Stop & Shop, he and his friend Burt make cheap slasher movies about a masked killer named The Debaser. Tony collects knives and horror movies and posters and zines, his movies probably far more organized than a casual fan’s. He likes to buy way too much stuff online, and he likes to drink away the sorrows. He goes to horror conventions. He’s a sucker for cute girls who show him attention. Aside from the fact that he follows through and makes his movies, Tony is any one of us. In fact, if you were to read The First One You Expect and tell me you didn’t see a little of yourself in Tony, I’d tell you that you’re a liar.
And then he meets Anna, the cute new girl at work. She takes an interest in his movies, and has some ideas of her own, some ideas that she believes might just make her a star. Next thing you know, she is Cat Killer, the sexy female slasher star. All they need is the funding, and the next movie is going to be huge, so they opt for the route followed by so many other starving artists and a few rich stars: Kickstarter. But what can they put in their Kickstarter video that will really grab peoples’ attention? What could they do that would be so intense that no one will ever forget?
The First One You Expect is a quick read, weighing in just under one hundred pages, and easily a book you’ll find yourself finishing in one sitting. Not just because it is short (it’s almost too short, which would be my only criticism, but coming from a selfish standpoint; I just wanted to stay in this world a little longer), but because it draws you right in. As I mentioned before, this is a book written for us, the “real” horror fans. It’s equal parts August Underground and Lloyd Kaufman’s All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger. The story is told from a place of knowledge, of experience, and we recognize it in any number of movies we’ve seen, whether it be 555, or Las Vegas Bloodbath, or Necro Files, or any number of others I’ve seen and/or reviewed here.
The First One You Expect is brutally honest, but in a loving, reverential kind of way. It points at our idiosyncrasies and obsessions as horror fans, but not necessarily in a negative way. Just as we are the weirdos who insist on owning each and every release of Mother’s Day, whether it be director’s cut or special edition, VHS or laser disc, original or awful remake, for no other reason than it was our favorite video box to look at back when there were video rental stores, we are also the ones who keep it all going. As the author says in his opening page dedication: “To any horror fan that picks up this crime book and then recognizes a part of themselves in the characters. I hope it’s not one of the awful parts.”
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Horror/Crime Hybrid,
I didn't know what to expect from The First One You Expect when I started to read it. Turns out it was a really good book that spoke to me in a way. I grew up being a huge horror fan, renting all the good and bad from my local video store. Even in my twenties, my brother and I experimented with short horror films (but mostly stuck to playing heavy metal). And that is exactly who the main character, Tony Anastos, is in this novella. An independent film maker that makes horror movies with his best friend Burt, in Burt's basement. When a new girl starts working at the store Tony works he finds a new leading lady for his movies. Things get weird from there. I don't want to say anymore than that because it's a short book, but believe me, it's brutal.
I was that guy that watched horror movies all the time, and looked at Fright Rags t-shirts, and even went to conventions like the one Tony goes to at the end of the book. I felt like Cesare was telling a story about me or someone I knew. It's a great book that's billed as "weird crime", but I think is more straight up horror if you ask me. There are only human monsters here.
My only negative comment I would make is the ending is slightly disappointing. Basically, the last chapter is a summary of what becomes of the characters. This happened to them, this happened to me, the end. It could have easily been a little longer and dragged out the suspense as to what would become of Tony Anastos, but overall it didn't hurt the book, just left me wanting a bit more. I can't wait to read more from Adam Cesare and I hope to see more from him in the future.
5.0 out of 5 stars Something I didn't expect.,
I have never read anything by Adam Cesare before but I plan to now. I got this book on a whim and did not know what to expect. It may not be a long book, but the author packs in a lot of story in the 77 pages.
4.0 out of 5 stars seedy side of low/no budget film making,
A modern kind of spiritual cousin to Crimson Orgy by Austin Williams in the way that it shows the reader the seedy side of low/no budget film making. To the extent I have a complaint it is only that I think there is more story there. I think Cesare could pull a reverse Hansen (his label mate) and expand on this later on if he wanted to. But that's not a real complaint, just an observation. While the end does come quick it does pack a punch and it has a great final line.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow,
This was an amazing novella. It was everything I had hoped for. The only bad thing about it was a few misspelled words. Other than that it was great
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The First One You Expect by Adam Cesare (Paperback - February 1, 2014)
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