Failure by John Everson

Failure by John Everson, Horror Fiction

Raymond is such a failure, he can't even kill himself and get it right. Cindy just plain doesn't care; she'll get on her knees for anyone beneath the football field bleachers to score a nickel bag hit. And Sal is a frustrated goon with a hook nose and an attitude so sour he can't nail a girl even with the lure of free dope and a getaway car.

When these three desperate teens meet Aaron, a failed practitioner of the dark arts who offers them the best high they've ever smoked in exchange for some kinky sexplay inside his pentagram, things can only go from bad to worse. Aaron hopes to ensnare and re-birth the spirit of a late witch, to capture her power from beyond the grave for his own.

Soon, they'll all learn the darkest, bloodiest, most terrifying definition of Failure.
I'm giving this one a 3 1/2 and this is why:
I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher/author/narrator via Audio Book Blast in exchange for an honest review and that's what you're getting.

Failure follows three teens around as they momentously screw up their lives. It’s kind of fun to watch this disaster because, let’s be real, none of them are very nice people. The boys have no respect for girls and the girl has no respect for herself. But I’m not here to judge . . .

Based on the promise of an epic high and some potentially epic sex, the three agree to meet and perform an occult sex ceremony for a kinky old guy who wants to watch (so he says). Even when he whips out the “pain chains” they don’t get suspicious. Nothing bad could possibly go wrong here, right?

The story is written in such a way that I thought it was a sequel. It’s told by the point of view of various characters and it flips back between the days leading up to the ceremony to the present day situation and I was very confused in the beginning. Perhaps that’s due to my listening to the story on audio or perhaps it’s due to my limited brain power? I don’t really know, but it all began to make sense eventually. The narration is great. Joe Hempel sounds appropriately young for the characters, doesn’t give the females a creepy falsetto and he gives the old man the sinister vibe he deserved.

It was quick, brutal and gory but nothing new or groundbreaking. Just some ugly people doing ugly things and getting their comeuppance. It kind of felt like an 80’s throwback with sex crazed teens doing what they do and a plot that felt achingly familiar. Still, I kind of liked that about the book! 3 ½ stars

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