*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
“I’m too drunk to fig this god-damned grave.”
Still holding the bottle, the man cleared sweat from his brow with his forearm. In his other hand was the shovel he’d barely made a dent in the earth with. The hole was no bigger than a fish tank. The boy gazed into the grainy abyss, frowning. He knew what was coming.
The shovel was tossed to him.
The man snorted. “Best get started while there’s still some light.”
There was no sunshine here, just the muted glow of another overcast day. They were beneath concrete heavens, toiling in a hell of weeds, poison ivy, and fruitless bramble. The stench of pig feces dominated every other odor, cancelling the fresh, spring scent of the woodland on the edge of the farm.
Blowing out a snot-rocket, the man stumbled to a tree stump and sat down slowly, holding his lower back. His vertebrae cracked like Jiffy Pop. The boy used to love popcorn. He missed it. He missed lots of things. Settled, the man took another pull on the whiskey. Some trickled down his chin and his tongue darted out to lick it up, a frog after a fly. The boy watched him with tired eyes before turning back to the hole where a single worm wiggled as its newfound freedom. He wondered if the man would have killed it if he’d seen it. if the creature was worthy of the man’s mercy, if it met the criteria of his aberrant morality.
Pushing the shovel into the dirt, the boy raised a small clump containing the worm, tossing it aside so it could live. On the ground beside it, the mildewed army bag was a grim reminder of those creatures who’d been far less fortunate.
It’s called The Scream…
Once you get it, you simply cannot stop screaming.
You can’t eat or sleep. It drives you more and more insane until you can’t stand to be alive a second longer.
When the phenomenon hits Chuck’s city, the chronically unemployed pervert joins a band of misfits to make his final stand.
Can Chuck, a bitter bartender, a dockside prostitute, a conspiracy theorist, and a homeless man find a way out of the apocalypse…
Or will they all die screaming?
A bleak and harrowing look at a world gone mad, They All Died Screaming is a splatterpunk novel that comes with the usual trigger warnings; gore, violence, sexual assault, and bodily fluids appearing in places they have no right to be. Yet the fiction of this novel is all too close to reality. Depicting the world’s descent into a virus of pandemic proportions through the eyes of a group of self proclaimed deadbeats, alcoholics, perverts, and those damaged beyond repair, Triana does not hold back in displaying the dark inner workings of the human mind and the actions that often follow.
They All Died Screaming has two plotlines that eventually coalesce, the first being the low maintenance life of Chuck the alcoholic who fancies ever increasingly younger women and his attempts to find some kind of worthwhile human interaction, before all human life is snuffed out by ‘The Scream’. One the other side of the page, we have the sickening story of a young boy kidnapped by a pig farmer who refuses to sell his pigs as meat – but there’s another delicacy on the menu that the boy needs to get used to fast.
Behind all the blood, vomit, violence, and despicable viewpoints of most of the characters, there are plenty of truths in this novel. Reflecting a society that treats its children, particularly young girls as meat, as a nuisance to use and get rid of at will, as well as one that pushes the downtrodden and in need to the margins where their situations can only get worse, They All Died Screaming‘s true horror is how close it is to reality. Triana’s writing is impeccable and his storytelling unforgettable.
A novel that will haunt your waking nightmares, and make you wonder where your meat is really coming from.
About the Author –
Kristopher Triana is the author of Full Brutal, Gone to See the River Man, Shepherd of the Black Sheep, The Ruin Season, Toxic Love and more.
His fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies and has been translated into multiple languages, drawing praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Cemetery Dance, Rue Morgue, Scream, The Ginger Nuts of Horror and others.
Full Brutal won the Splatterpunk Award for Best Horror Novel of 2018.
He lives in Connecticut.
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