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Garbage Man / Joseph D'Lacey

Bloody Books / May 2009
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

Garbage. Refuse. Trash. It doesn’t matter what we call it or where it ultimately ends up. All that matters is that when we dispose of unwanted things, they disappear from our lives forever. But what if some of those things decide to come back?

Mason Brand knows about ridding himself of unwanted things. He’s given up fame for a simpler, hermit-like life. He lives within sight of the town’s landfill and spends his time reconnecting with nature. When he heeds nature’s calling, he has no idea where the journey will take him and what kind of monster he is about to unleash.

Agatha “Aggie” Smithfield wants nothing more than to escape Shreve but she needs Mason’s help to do it. She dreams of becoming a professional model and believes her beauty is her ticket out of this dead end town. Having a portfolio shot by acclaimed photographer, Mason Brand, will certainly seal her fate. Mason isn’t about to give away his services for free. Is Aggie willing to pay his price?

The town of Shreve is filled with unwanted things, not just garbage, but secrets and lies. Two couples are torn apart. While new relationships are born from the ones that have ended, there will never be a happy ending so long as past truths are ignored.

D’Lacey’s premise is reminiscent of the classic 1958 horror movie, The Blob. Much like the blob, the monster in Garbage Man starts off as a small creature but then grows larger as it “eats” its victims. The “birthing” of the first monster is explained in great detail. As the story progresses, additional creatures begin attacking the town, whether or not they are the offspring of the first monster or entities unto themselves is unclear.

D’Lacey’s writing style has been compared to that of Stephen King’s. There is a lot of set up in the first hundred pages of the novel in which a number of potentially interesting characters and subplots are introduced. The downside of having such a large cast of characters is that it becomes hard to fully develop and integrate each character’s story arc into the plot. Some characters were killed off prematurely and some of the more interesting subplots were left to wither on the vine. There were also some minor problems with questionable character motivations and tense changes switching from past to present and back. D’Lacey does a good job with sensory description — especially sense of smell. At times, having the olfactory senses engaged was what made the action horrific.

The most compelling reason to read Garbage Man is the fact that D’Lacey challenges readers to think about a subject (garbage disposal) that most of us take for granted. What would we really do if D’Lacey’s vision became a reality? What can we do to prevent it? If reading this novel doesn’t make you at least stop for a moment to think about recycling or reducing consumption, I don’t know what will.

Purchase Garbage Man by Joseph D’Lacey.

Posted on Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 11:25PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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