‘John McNee’s Doom Cabaret’ – Review

*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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“So… this is the club?” I asked.

“Down,” he insisted, urging me onward. “It’s called the Doom Cabaret.” 

“Catchy.” 

“Its an ancient and noble tradition of the theatre, dating as far back as the Roman Empire. From them to now, the Doom Cabaret has been dedicated to bringing revelry to the darkness, spitting in the face of the apocalypse and providing joy to a niche and dedicated audience.” 

“I see,” I said, though it was hardly the case. In truth, it was becoming difficult to see anything in the fading glow of the lamps. 

 

Synopsis –

This is the stage. These are the players.

A young woman’s sexual appetites prove too powerful to be undone by death. Hedonistic clubbers covet a drug that warps flesh rather than the mind. A wealthy cannibal encounters a meal too beautiful to be eaten. The Lullaby Man ushers another eager victim into his clockwork lair. Here is where such stories are told. Blood and beauty, defilement and deformity, musicians and monsters.

Welcome to the Doom Cabaret.

 

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Thoughts –

Being a cabaret fiend myself I couldn’t resist a horror collection with a cover and title like this, and I’m glad I gave into temptation. Doom Cabaret is a set of eight horrific stories ranging from grotesque freak shows that go beyond any freak show you’ve ever seen before in ‘Bebbel‘, to a gruesome mural that  comes to life in ‘Man Holding Razor Blade‘. McNee weaves a tapestry of violence, gore, passion, and revenge shrouded in shadows and as entertaining as it is stomach churning.

McNee’s writing relies heavily on the realistic characters that he creates. There is no such thing as holding back with McNee’s stories, no line that he won’t cross in service of the story.

This collection is bookended by a first and last story of some very different, yet equally hypnotic performances, ‘Bebbel’ and ‘Midnight at Doom Cabaret‘. Hitting you with the hard stuff first, the crunchy middle of the collection ramps down just a little, but always with the shadow in the background of that no holes barred beginning. Horrific performances with horrific stage managers, McNee’s stories are not easily forgotten, and not easy to put down either.

 

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About the Author –

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John McNee is the writer of numerous strange and disturbing horror stories, published in a variety of strange and disturbing anthologies, as well as the novel ‘Prince of Nightmares’.

He is also the creator of Grudgehaven and the author of ‘Grudge Punk’, a collection of short stories detailing the lives and deaths of its gruesome inhabitants, as well as its sequel, ‘Petroleum Precinct’.

He lives in Scotland, where he is employed as a journalist.

 

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