Horror Review: Facial by Jeff Strand

Greg has just killed the man he hired to kill one of his wife’s many lovers. He’s now got a dead body in his office.

Carlton, Greg’s brother, desperately needs a dead body. It’s kind of related to the lion corpse that he found in his basement.

This is the normal part of the story.

With a cover blurb like that, how I could not give Facial a chance? Besides, while I'd heard of Jeff Strand, of course, I had yet to give him a read, so this seemed as good a time as any to make his acquaintance.

I'm so very glad I did.

This is so much more messed up than the blurb would suggest, but entirely in a good way. It's completely bizarre and utterly absurd, like a Monty Python sketch that was discarded for being too dark, resurrected for a second chance by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, and buried for good by the censors. It's so dark, it's really defines the term 'guilty pleasure.'

I won't try to sum up the story or quote any of the myriad lines that I'd like to, because that would be cheating you out of half the fun. Instead, I'll just say this is exceptionally well-told, with several first-person narrators, all of whom are as deadpan funny as the rest. Strand really pushes the limits of his narrators here, with some of their best lines actually coming after their dead. It's often sarcastic and self-depreciating, but more often understated and (I'll say it again) absurd.

It, of course, gets even darker and weirder as it goes on, leading up to a climax that legitimately delivers on the black humor that's come before, and a conclusion that demonstrates there are still a few surprises left on the page. Facial may very well be the oddest story you'll ever feel so guilty about laughing through, but it's also very well-crafted that you'll be able to justify your amusement with admiration.

Expected publication: December 16th 2014 by DarkFuse


  1. Combination Monty Python and Simon Pegg? I bet it is twisted. Now I'm curious.

  2. Hmm.... I have to say - the cover kinda freaks me out a little.


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