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You Morbid Westphal
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2009
To be honest, Steven Rage's first book, "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale", only half-worked for me. There was certainly a compelling tale to be told but you had to cut through the style to get there. I accept that I may be in the minority here but that was my initial reaction. After the "adjustment period", if you want to call it that, Pilate really opened up and revealed a wealth on nearly realised potential. Rage was tantilisingly close to writing a great book.

Flash forward a few years and an unsuspecting literary world is handed Rage's next book, You Morbid Westphal. Set in a hospital, the title of the book is derived from the three main characters. Born fully formed from a rather unpleasant orifice is Morbid. His game is to stalk the hospital wings and violently (very violently!) dispatching helpless patients. Next we have Westphal. He works nights at the hospital trying to support, what some my call, a rather dysfunctional family. With Morbid reeking havoc in this very unfortunate hospital, the one thing Westphal doesn't need is to be blamed for Morbid's actions. It would do his job no good. The "You" in this book's title literally refers to "you". You are a dying patient who wants to die as peacefully as possible. There are elements at work that want to prevent this from occurring.

From the description above, you could be forgiven for assuming this is going to be a rather confusing story. I'll allay your fears right from start and assure you that Rage waves this tale brilliantly. The details of the story are lucid and feverishly entertaining. The hyper violence is contextualised in such a way as to avoid gratuitousness. The book is brief, clocking in at just under 140 pages, which gives You Morbid Westphal and element of frenzy. In this format everything works. It's hard to imagine the tone sustaining over a longer period.

You Morbid Westphal is very highly recommended and a real treat for anyone who enjoys their fiction warped to breaking point and smeared in blood. Rage has applied all the lessons he learned with Pilate and written that great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
I urge all film makers to collaborate with Reverend Steven Rage and make this book (and all of his books - written and unwritten - for that matter) into the greatest horror flick(s) that mankind has ever witnessed! When I read this book, I couldn't help but see in my mind's eye the strong visualizations and all of the big screen special effects potentials and possibilities (hint hint movie makers) that Reverend Rage perfectly delivers to us in You Morbid Westphal. I am confident that, with the help of the sheer brilliance and utter uniqueness that is the mind of Reverend Steven Rage, the whole of the horror film, bizarro communities, and many more people outside of these genres would be blown away and turned on their ears by any films made which involve Reverend Rage's creative construction and are based upon the writings of this honest, hard working, genius, and saint of a man! For all of you who may be reading my review and are not film makers, I am not going to waste your time by repeating the plot description of You Morbid Westphal, since it's repeated several times on this page already. I'll just give you my humble opinion of it. Firstly, don't let the shortness of pages fool you. There is more mind blowing action packed into this gem of a book than I've read in many books that are longer in pages! Reverend Rage's characters (true to this author's form) are highly inventive and uniquely interesting. I honestly found it extremely difficult to put this book down! I am going to read it again several more times in the future, it's just that amazing! I absolutely LOVE how the good Reverend Rage brilliantly manipulates the concept of time in his books! (In this book, and in his Brutal Bible Tales books equally as well!) It is my opinion that the few people in a couple of the reviews that I've read for any given Reverend Steven Rage book, who stated that they got confused by this author's twisted time concepts, should try to slow down and re-read his books. (Everyone should re-read his books, actually. I know that I will!) If you pay close attention to every word that Reverend Rage writes, you will understand what is happening in his books without any problems. Also, this author writes in such a way that you can discover something that you missed when you read it the first time (or other times after) before! This is another reason why I am so hopelessly addicted to the works of Reverend Rage and the reason why I recommend the re-reading of his books so much. As usual, I strongly recommend that the readers of this review who are unfamiliar with this author's writing style and background should search "Reverend Steven Rage" here on amazon.com or even google him. Read his reviews, read his own product descriptions, and definitely take the time to learn about his real life background. Do your homework on the good Reverend Steven Rage, and I know that you will find that he is more than worthy of our support and your research time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 29, 2009
You live your final days lying in a hospital bed, unable to move or take of yourself while gritting through constant pain waiting for the madness to end. Unfortunately, your heinous deeds during life are coming full circle and sweet death continues to be stayed by the demons that torture you keeping you just this side of the living. One such demon, Morbid, spawned from you through some unholy means dispatches other hospital patients in gruesome fashion. Meanwhile, a male nurse named Westphal makes his way through life looking to make just enough money to score his next drug buy and take care of his ghost stepfather and pet unborn fetus. This is harbor hospital, and this is the end of your life.

Rage's sophomore novel You Morbid Westphal takes place in the harbor similar to his first novel PILATE: A Brutal Bible Tale. All of the graphic, disturbing and gruesome imagery Rage demonstrated his prowess at in the first book return in this offering. However, in this chapter, these elements seem a less gratuitous, a little more muted, and more securely woven into the fabric of a very disturbing tale. This novel is not for the faint of heart and is extreme in all ways imaginable - really, I'm not kidding. None-the-less, Rage is incredibly creative and talented. It's hard to fathom what hell might be like - unspeakable pain and agony - perhaps. But I think Rage paints a picture that drives home the concept of a living hell one must suffer due to their heinous choices in life. If the real thing is anything like this, one can only hope and pray for redemption and salvation.

Rage parallels some biblical themes once again, though in an unholy bizarro fashion and throws in a twist at the end reminiscent of the 1987 movie Angel Heart [Blu-ray] starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. For those who enjoyed Pilate - you will find an even better book in Westphal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I read and liked this author's first book PILATE. It was an impressive debut. But when I got this one, his second, I knew I had to expect more from Steven Rage. When reading novels, I always expect more from later books (and therefore am a little tougher when reviewing them) and I didn't want to be disappointed.

I was far from disappointed with this book. Like another reviewer said, Rage's first book, the style often got in the way of the story. With YOU MORBID WESTPHAL, Rage made sure to cut things down to the bone and tell the story more directly while still keeping his unique voice.

The plot sort of reminds me of early Tom Piccirilli horror novels. There's a certain ambiguous occultism involved that's very intriguing. There is also some hardcore grossness that is also reminiscent of Edward Lee. Not to say that Rage has imitated them, I just get that feeling from this book.....which is a good thing.

My only criticism is the length. If this is the first in a series of books, then the criticism is negated. But if it's a standalone, I'm just a little bit disappointed in not finding out more about some of the minor characters. They are all so interesting. Also, the ending is good and wraps everything up but I was hoping for something a bit less traditional. It still worked well and was a satisfying ending.

The setup of the book was unique, with each chapter being from a different point of view (You, Morbid, & Westphal). It might confuse people at first but then you get into it and it flows nicely.

Overall, this is an improvement over Rage's last book and is worth a read if you like bizarre horror novels. Get on the Rage train while you can because I have a feeling that he'll be getting bigger and bigger with each new book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The concept of "You Morbid Westphal" shouldn't have worked at all! There's no way it was supposed to. I've seen some experimental fiction like this before and watched as it plummeted into the abyss face-first leaving irate readers in its wake. This is supposed to be that sort of book...
...but it succeeds...beautifully.
For starters, the title You Morbid Westphal is setting up the three main characters. You...as in you...yes, you, Morbid, a malicious little beastie, and Westphal, who's just trying to get through the graveyard shift at the hospital you're in. These are the three main characters and they share the piece in circular stories. The "you" portions of the book read like a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book...placing you right in the action. You're responsible for birthing Morbid. You're not going to have a very good night. You're experiencing it as it unfolds. This style is not my typical fare, but I was captivated by it. I loved seeing what havoc was unfurling around my world. Meanwhile you get the other two stories (obviously connected). One follows Morbid as he indulges his macabre whims and the coke-addled Westphal. Should you find yourself in a hospital, pray it isn't this one. In fact, I'm not above the cliché...I'll say it: You Morbid Westphal does for hospitals what Jaws did for beach getaways!
Steven Rage is a masterful storyteller. He weaves a world that his painted in black and white hues, where anything can happen (and often does), and his brutally visceral. I realize that this is a horror tale...I guess you could call it that. It's got more emotion than your typical horror fare. I felt the emotional rollercoaster travel from repulsed to humored to moved and back again. And the end...well, I'm not the one to spill the beans, but rest assured, you'll not know what is in store for "You" until you reach the final pages.
My biggest complaint with the book was the length. I craved more, which is a wonderful thing, and wanted to see more of the story fleshed out. I make no bones about it...I'm a longer fiction type person. But I never dismiss a solid story, and this was certainly that. The fact that I wanted more should attest to the quality.
Too, at first I was a little confused with the circular-style storytelling. It's a three ring circus...not a crazy train that has too many clashing storylines...but in the beginning it is a little confusing.** Please keep reading, though. In the end it's worth it all and Steven Rage does bring it together nicely.
If you like your horror visceral pick this up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When you read this book, you may need to take a few hits of Plata or Valium to get through, or not, and experience the entire book, page by page, as Steven Rage intended it - to scare, to upset, and to start and keep you thinking.
There is a large ripple in the Evil Nerd Empire printing company universe. Steven Rage has found a home and a place for him to write to his heart's content and has a built in audience of horror readers who will want for more. Bravo that he's found a home for his readership - Steven Rage is a brilliant writer in his genre.
Is a Steven Rage book for the ordinary reader??? No way. Every page is not for the faint of heart. It deals with lots of drugs, dead people, aborted fetuses, and someone like Westphal who works in a nursing facility and literary 'has his way' with the patients.
In order for more drugs, he appears in a 'porn' flick that is uneasy to read as it was for Westphal to participate in.
Is this and other Steven Rage works for everyone? No. That is why I tell you I know the brilliance of the man, been a fellow writer in the first Shameless Shorts Short Story Anthology, and read his book PILATE on Harborside's (a suburb of Phoenix) modern version of Pontius Pilate and Jesus - brilliant, but violent, as the story was.
He is talented and his audience is specific - one who understands that Mr. Rage pulls no punches, nor cushions any situations - it is what it is.
You Morbid Westfal is not everyone's cup of tea. But for afficianados of the morbid, and horror, The Evil Nerd Empire Publishing has opened its arms and given Mr.Rage a forum for his talents, which are formidable. I look forward to more from Steven Rage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2010
This is a short book; you could read it in a single sitting, as I did--twice. Even so, Reverend Rage somehow manages to give us a story that has the scope of a full-blown novel without skimping anywhere. It's fascinating, scary, out-and-out repulsive at times, and even amusing in a few places. (I love Sammy, the crusty old ghost-dad who lives with Westphal.)

The book tells an intricate story, dark and gritty and bizarre--I don't know if Rage claims them as influences, but it makes me think of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick collaborating on a horror novel--set in a world of drug dealers, prostitutes, porn producers and otherworldly beings. This world, as well as the story, is well-realized and full of the kind of detail that makes it feel authentic. Everything is extremely vivid.

Westphal, the central character, is a drug-addicted loser who's just one screw-up away from losing his job at a hospital, and who finds he's gotten in over his head with his drug dealer. In fact, I would imagine most of us know, or have known, at least one Westphal in real life. There's much more to it than that, but talking more about the various threads and themes in the story would be running the risk of giving away spoilers.

Suffice to say it's a story full of imagination and weirdness, a story that invites you to give a little thought to what it takes to maintain some control over your life, and to take a look at your capacity for good and evil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2010
Reading this book, you get the impression that Steven Rage is actually a really nice guy. You feel like he's a guy with whom you can share a nice brewski and watch some kind of sports on TV. But beware, because underneath the everyman persona, Steven Rage is one sick man. The evidence of his twisted mind is You Morbid Westphal, a brutal noir tale of drugs and demons.

Steven Rage shows us the life of Westphal, a male nurse who works twelve hour shifts and gets most of his nutrients from hard drugs. Westphal lives in a dillapidated apartment with his ghost stepdad and a pet fetus, the most economical companion of all. Through the story we get to see Westphal move about in the desolate town of Harbor, having casual run-ins with demons and drug dealers. Westphal's life sucks, but it's actually WAY worse than he thinks.

If you're a fan of dark and brutal stories, I definitely recommend Rage's work. The narration is raw and blunt, but he's created very interesting characters to populate this dark and moody world. It never comes off as "shocking for the sake of being shocking." You Morbid Westphal is a fast-paced tale that winds itself up and releases with a deadly and violent twist ending. If you think you've got the stomach to see the brutal blackness squirming around in Steven Rage's mind, give this a read. After all, he's a very nice guy in real life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
when it comes to the grotesque and bizarre, rage thinks outside the pine box (casket, that is). this is a short but tasty little treat for those who like their literature to run on the sick and twisted side. as with his book about pilate, rage combines a knowledge of modern street/drug culture and slang with an intelligent wit and a lyrical sense of prose. although written in prose, it has a certain poetic flow that maintains the sick depravity you expect to see in rage's work. it's short, but complete unto itself. it doesn't need to be any longer than it is...and it almost comes off as reading like a morbid, morose, sick, demented, profane version of The Iliad and The Odyssey (in form, not in content). and it really is worth reading...if you like this kind of sick stuff, which I do. as i said, it's not just gross...there's an intelligence and a worthy writing style in rage's work. it's hard to explain. all i can say is: if i were ever to be reincarnated as another charlie manson, i would definitely want steven rage in my family. this is an inventive story of woe and regret and sex and things crawling out of notoriously uncomfortable body orafices that is not to be missed. if you like the demented and bizarre, give this short but tasty little number a try. it's like chicken eyeball soup with entrails for your shriveled, rancid soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2010
Do you like to read a book where you're a character in it and you really sorta wish you weren't (but you still totally love that you are)? Do you like reading books that take you out of this world and into the weird, amazing, thoughtful world the author has ready? You won't find a more twisted, delicious, dark, and unique tale of the ups, downs, and insides of dying in some sort of peace than You Morbid Westphal.

This is about angels, demons, and the fight for your soul. It's about people.

Rage tells this story through obvious experience and thoughtful reflection on the world around him. He delivers a refined view of violence and gore, a bright shining bit of love and hope in the gristle and guts of death. He tells a frightening, gripping, original story that will suck you straight in, like it or not. And I'm pretty sure you'll love it.

It's gritty, and realistically crazy. It's gross in just the right amounts. The story is so eloquently presented that you're straight in it for the whole nail-biting ride. I'd say it's masterful. Dark, beautiful, bizarro, and insightful--The Reverend does brilliantly.

I'm an instant fan of Steven Rage. I can't wait to read more.
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