Review: Facial by Jeff Strand


About Facial

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.

From Jeff Strand, the author of Benjamin’s ParasiteThe Sinister Mr. Corpse, and Fangboy, comes a tale that’s weird even by his standards.

Facial. It’s not about what you’re thinking. Well, okay, part of it is...

About the Author

Jeff Strand was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but moved to Fairbanks, Alaska when he was six months old, so his memories of Baltimore are hazy. He grew up in the cold, where he desperately wanted to be a cartoonist. Then he wanted to make video games. Then he wanted to write movies. Actually, he still wants to do all of those things, but for now he's quite happy writing lots of demented novels.

He was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. His novel PRESSURE has been optioned for film; he's hoping the movie will be made soon so he can scream "My baby! What have you done to my precious baby?!?"

His novels are usually classified as horror, but they're really all over the place, from comedies to thrillers to drama to, yes, even a fairy tale.

Because he doesn't do cold weather anymore, he lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and a deaf cat.

My Thoughts

Throughout my reading of Jeff Strand's Facial, one thought repeatedly crossed my mind, primarily in it's long, NSFW form: WTF.

I've read a few strange books over the years, but this one takes the cake and may very well be on of the most farcical horror stories I've ever read.

Despite it bold oddness, the story is actually pretty simple and summed up pretty well during a moment of exposition when Greg explains his, and his brother's, predicament to his cheating wife by telling her:

[T]his scary face appeared on the floor of Carlton's basement, and it gave us gold coins in exchange for feeding it severed heads, and we figured that if we had to kill people, it might as well be people who are cuckholding me, so I'm a monster!

And that's Facial in a nutshell. It's a trippy, hallucinogenic story of bloodlust and murder, with a comedic bent. It's a quick, short read, and the story flops around between alternating viewpoints from Greg, Carlton, Felicia (Greg's cheating wife), and a few of their victims.

Unfortunately, this novella didn't quite work for me. I typically don't have a problem with shifting narrators, but here, they all carried the same voice and personality, and sense of humor. Overall, it was just a little too Looney Tunes for my palette, a little too off-wall and improbable, a little too long and a bit too one-note.

That said, the one thing that is strongly apparent in this work is its originality. I can honestly say I have not read anything quite like it before! And given that, I am very curious to see what else Strand has up his sleeve and will be checking out some of his other works in the near-future.

Buy Facial On Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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