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Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Stuck on You is a wonderfully fun and twisted story. The premise is killer, but Bark doesn't stop there. He delivers a twist at the end that takes it to the next level.
Taking the Piss is a very short piece with a nasty twist. Real gut-punch horror.
The Castigation Church was a very fun and darkly amusing tale of hell.
Ill Met By Moonlight was a very interesting story with Shakespearean illusions.
How the Dark Bleeds was a story full of atmosphere and suspense. Gripping stuff.
Mouthful is a very gripping monologue (though in a way it's really a dialogue).
Haunting the Past is a really awesome tale of a thief trapped in a haunted house, which deals with how the past affects the present but also how the present can affect the past.
End of the Lines is a really wild story of time travel and time loops and body swapping that left me almost dizzy with the uniqueness of the vision.
Dead Scalp is perhaps the weirdest western/horror hybrid I've ever read, and I mean that in a good way. I never had any idea what was coming next, this story really surprised me in the best way.
Overall, I found this to be a really wonderful collection that introduced me to a new talent.
"Stuck on You", the title story, is the best known of the stories in this anthology. It is about Ricardo, a repentant philanderer, trying hard to be faithful to his wife. However, he can't resist the temptation of a bout of hot sex with Consuela, a Mexican drug runner to whom he gave a ride across the border. When an untimely bolt of lightning strikes Ricardo in the rear side during the copulative act, he wakes up to find himself physically fused to Consuela's corpse (hence the title "Stuck on You"). But that is only the beginning: the very top of Dante's seven circles of hell, so to speak. The continual decline through the ever-worsening circumstances to the unexpected denouement could only be envisioned by Jasper Bark. "Taking the Piss" is a short tale of hideous vengeance which the victim richly deserves. "Ill Met by Moonlight" tells the tale of a man who callously shifts his affection from one woman to another only to find the wildly imaginative and unexpected supernatural truth behind who is really pulling the strings in this menage de trois. This story, to me, is a finely wrought allegory about the relational dynamics between men and women. Next comes the dark and horrific tale "How the Dark Bleeds" about Stephenie, a nurse who makes friends with paranormal researcher Jan who is studying the ancient Celtic tradition of the Heolfor, the goddesses of bloodletting who represent the darker side of feminine nature. As the story progresses we begin to doubt the mental stability, and ultimately the sanity of Stephanie. It all ends in a horrific and hallucinatory ceremony in a forgotten room in the basement of the hospital. This story has connections with the disturbing cutting phenomenon among disturbed young adults. "Haunting the Past" follows a thieving opportunist who sets out to loot the abandoned homes in a mudslide area. In the act of robbery he gets trapped in a house by a second mud slide. Over time he interacts with a family of ghosts from the turn of the century, until the boundaries blur and it becomes uncertain as to who is actually haunting whom.The standard ghost story concept has been totally turned on its head in this sad and compelling tale. "End of the LIne" is reminiscent of a Twilight Zone story, only it is darker and more complex than any Twilight Zone episode I've seen. The story is about "chrononauts" who have discovered a way to travel back and forth through time, and the rich sponsor who turns on them to subvert and hijack the process to further his personal interests. The harrowing experience of the survivor who is trapped in an abandoned subway to live and re-live his own gristly murder and repetitive failed attempts to escape the wormhole in time that confines him is creepy, compelling reading. The last, longest, and strangest of the stories, "Dead Scalp" is the story of Civil War - era train and bank robbers who flee justice. They come upon Indian shamans opening a dimensional warp to pass food and supplies in to the Native American inhabitants of a strange hidden land where there is no aging and no access back and forth except through the portal that only the shamans can open. The outlaw leader, Big Bill, treats the Indians in this sheltered place brutally, ultimately killing them in gruesome fashion. Big Bill sets up a "Tombstone" - style town where he has assumed life and death authority over his "subjects". Tradesmen such as carpenters are smuggled into the town to serve as slaves and do the manual work, and woman are kidnapped and smuggled into the town to serve as prostitutes in the brothel. Illicit trade is set up with the outside world with the assistance of the surviving shaman who controls entrance to the land through the portal. Desperados and renegades are offered sanctuary at the cost of 10,000 silver dollars. The horrendous deeds committed by Big Bill and his henchmen, and the ultimate doom of this concealed Sodom and Gomorrah make for an intense reading experience.
To return to my original premise that Jasper Bark is a great horror story writer. His stories are the most uninhibited that I've come across. No subject matter is off limits; no hideous scene is shielded from our view. Violence yes, gore in congealing heaps, sex acts that seem to proliferate in these pages as if generated by - well yes, the reproductive act. Some readers will find the graphic and no-holds-barred description of some pretty abominable actions and scenes to be over-the-top and distasteful. But you won't find anything that is gratuitous (at least not much). Every scene has its purpose, its reason. Underlying these stories is a dark, mordant but always discernible sense of humor - almost a joy at the plethora of insane-seeming possibilities that this world we live in offers. Jasper Bark describes this mind set better than I can when he describes an associate as "a man whose moroseness and constant misanthropy never fail to bring joy and laughter into my life." It is that bizarre but charismatic merriment underlying these stories that make them not only bearable in their excesses but in many cases almost - lovable. Jasper Bark is also an astute observer of character. In his many sly observations about the functions and dysfunctions in the relationships between men and women, Bark shows himself to have a fine psychological understanding about the dynamics of sex, love and the weird frictions and interdependencies between the sexes. Bark's characters are strong, believable,variable, and very real.There are no "types" here - just sympathetic people with the same hang ups and insecurities that all of us share. The underlying humor and empathetic humanity of these stories raise them to the level of literature - and elevate the outrageous to the sublime.
Jasper Bark, to me, is already a iconic writer. When I want a "Jasper Bark" story, only genuine, authentic Jasper Bark will do.
Taking The Piss is brilliantly brutal, leaving the reader feeling like the need for a nice hot shower afterward. Nicely executed revenge tale that brings with it a desire for hand sanitizer.
Dead Scalp is as good of a weird western as any others you will read this year. Bark captures the gritty windblown feel of an unforgiving time and opens the door to dimensions that would make Rod Serling blush.
Haunting The Past is a familiar ghost story with skeletons in it's closet. The Castigation Crunch proves that Hell is not safe from corporate takeover either, Mouthful will make you open wide in this tip of the hat to classic body horror, and of course there are a few more tasty treats in this collection that may shock, repulse, and humor you.
Of course, Stuck On You, which I have already reviewed and will not say any
thing more about this 5 star novella that takes all the fun out of banging a sexy smuggler in the woods after sneaking her into the country.
This collection is something you can go through in a day or weekend, tearing through these stories like an eager eight year old on Christmas morning. Or savor your time with these stories, chewing carefully as you float around inside the mind of a creative genius. You never know where he may have hidden that razor blade.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not long ago I was sitting on the sofa, reading Jasper Bark’s Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts.Read more
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