A MOST MOVING REVIEW....
Authors know that when they publish a book, they can generally expect both praise and criticism. I have had my fair share of each and I am truly grateful for all the feedback I get—even the criticism, especially when it is constructive and presents an opportunity to improve my writing.
Man Cave is probably the most brutal story I have written so far. It is seriously extreme and difficult for many people to read. I know some people think that when I add warnings about my story I am just trying to lure readers, but this is not the case at all and I do urge readers to heed my warnings.
I will freely admit that much of the delay in writing the sequel to Man Cave stems from a moral dilemma that has been plaguing me for some time now. You see, I like to think of myself as a good Christian and I wholeheartedly believe that people should be kind, show empathy, help others and act humanely towards one another. Yet, here I am, writing about characters who commit the most heinous acts; characters who hurt innocent animals and people of all ages. When I first began writing extreme horror, I was concerned about what people would think of me. But now I am most concerned about how my work may affect others. I’ve had people call my stories “torture porn,” which honestly irritates me since I personally do not support porn of any sort, nor do I strive to incorporate pornographic material within any of my books. I do not write scenes of horror and depravity simply to shock but rather to further my storylines. With this is mind, I often wonder whether people might mistake my use of immoral material (incest, rape, domestic violence, etc) for acceptance of such behaviors. Please know UNEQUIVOCALLY that I do not support or condone such horrific acts. I do not promote the maltreatment of women, children or animals—of anyone, really—I do not promote abuse of any kind. Indeed, I am a strong opponent of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. I have served as a law guardian in the past fighting to protect the best interests of children. Moreover, I have volunteered to help victims of domestic violence secure proper orders of protection.
To think that my stories may be influencing some people to act in deplorable ways has always weighed heavily on my soul. It is my goal to merely entertain. But what if some people find some sort of sick inspiration from my horrific scenes? I know it is beyond my control, but it has still bothered me to think of the possibility.
Then, recently, the very talented Jeffrey Caston, author of Immunity and the Food series books, read Man Cave and wrote an amazing review—one that literally moved me to tears. You see, most readers agree that my books are extreme and disturbing, no doubt about it, but not many may recognize that I truly do strive to impart morals and lessons whenever possible. It is my hope that my stories will not just be engaging, but also thought-provoking.
The tagline of Man Cave is “Because bad things happen.” It’s no lie. Just read any newspaper or watch any news report. Bad things happen all the time to people from all walks of life, of all ages, all races, all socioeconomic classes, etc. It’s the sad reality. My book is an example of one absolutely atrocious thing happening to a pair of young women who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Yes, bad things happen, but Caston has my put my heart and mind at ease knowing that my twisted stories can actually move people to recognize the good as well—maybe even get inspired to do some good themselves.
Thank you, Jeffrey! Your review is just the inspiration that I needed. ❤
The review below is reprinted with Jeffrey Caston’s permission:
Oof. And I thought Omerion was brutal.
I hardly know where to start.
I guess I’ll start with the obvious. This book will not be for everyone. It won’t even be for the average horror reader. Scanning the reviews, you will see Angel Gelique’s Man Cave described by other reviewers as some very hardcore extreme horror. It’s all quite, quite true, I can assure you. What follows from the not-so-innocent looking cover with the bloody saw and the blood-soaked font for the title is an unflinching, unrelenting, and unapologetically brutal story involving the worst kind of human behavior. It is raw, base, disturbing as all get out, extraordinarily violent, and forces you to look at the worst things that can happen to women. One day, when I was near the end of the book, I found myself sort of listlessly walking along the street, thinking and despairing of what had happened to poor Sophie and Amber. It created such a weighing sense of helplessness. And these were FICTIONAL characters! If you see what I frequently read, that’s saying something that a story could stick with me as Man Cave.
But there’s something else this book is not — it is not a story with no purpose or just sordid or disturbing or gross just to be gross. It is not just shock value. There are characters in here you care about and characters you have hope for and characters you will hate. The gamut of emotions is very powerful in this story. Amber and Sofie run through everything.They (view spoiler). Benny’s horrendous tactics elicit real revulsion. A (view spoiler). I also found Benny’s wife, Mimi, compelling, including (view spoiler). I also thought Gelique captured well the organic transitions and emotional push and pull our feelings can have in such extreme situations. There were a few passages in particular that struck me, like the following: (view spoiler).
There’s another part where (view spoiler). It is the non-linear, messy even, back and forth in emotions in such a dire situation that Gelique did very well here.
On a side note, I’ve been trying to get some of these indie author and small press books in paperback. I don’t know if this one was done by Amazon’s print on demand or through a third-party vendor, but the quality was quite good and held up well between being read and put into a book bag while moving about, etc. I was quite pleased with that.
Gelique’s very candid and upfront about the book’s theme - “because bad things happen.” As I was reading it, seemed to me that the corollary to that was that sometimes—maybe even a lot of times—there’s no real reason for those bad things to happen. No reason why a particular bad thing should happe to a particular person. That, to me, was one of the reasons it felt so powerful.
Literature, stories, etc. are supposed to speak to us, right? The good ones affect us in any number of ways. Even when it is about bad things, it can affect us, instruct us, and quite possibly move us. Yes, bad things happen. Seems to me that we can’t shy away from seeing that, exploring that, and understanding it. Why bad things happen, and what, if anything we can do about it. Ignoring why bad things happen doesn’t help. Shying away from stories that tell us about bad things doesn’t help either. Again, this could just be me, but aside from enjoying reading, stories should move us. This one did.
So, yeah, bad things happen in real life. For 99.999999% of it, there’s absolutely not a damn thing I can do about it. I can’t end wars. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to approach international conflicts. Last I checked bullets wouldn’t bounce off my chest (though it would be really awesome if they would, I won’t lie). But Angel Gelique has reminded me that what I can do, maybe I should work a little harder at doing. So the next barista I see, there’s going to be a bit more in the tip jar. The next kiss goodnight to my spouse is going to last a little longer. When I walk into a building, I’ll wait that extra ten seconds to hold the door so it won’t drop on them. I’m going to wave to my neighbors and greet them with a good morning instead of sometimes being absorbed on my phone. If someone looks like they’re having a rough day, give them a smile or a greeting. Or maybe try to commiserate. Everyone likes donuts—maybe tomorrow I bring a box to work. Offer to help if someone is struggling to lift something or move something. I guaran—effin—tee the next time I see someone out of gas and pushing their car, I’m getting out of mine to help push. Those are just little examples. Maybe even silly, pointless ones. But it’s something.
Was this what Angel Gelique intended? Dunno.
Is my reaction even a reasonable one? Again…dunno.
But if I can offset some of the bad things in REAL life by working harder at being extra good to people, you can bet your butt I’m going to do it. I make no apologies for that.
Anyway, I’m being goofy. Man Cave is an amazing book. It took bravery to put something like this story out there that is shocking without being just about being shocking. I encourage people to be brave and give it a whack.
If you would like to read the full review with the spoiler alerts removed, visit Goodreads HERE.