To the newcomer, the wraparound device of the FBI agent reading diaries will make no sense. If you’re that person, simply pay no attention to that and get right into the main course, and all will be well. It’s the one with the opening line of “All the beautiful girls I know do blow.”
Those truer words are spoken by our narrator, Rob, who’s waiting for his date at an Italian restaurant. She stands him up, and he flirts with Casey, his cute waitress who lets slip that she’s a single mom who deals coke on the side. She wonders if Rob might drive her to a transaction.
Rob declines, eager to get home for a snowed-in weekend of video games. He doesn’t quite make it, however, as he’s hit by a mysterious car outside. When he wakes up, he’s in a strange place and being cared for by a stunning woman named Chrissy. She’s so pretty that it seems to good to be true, so of course, things go bad.
I can’t reveal what happens from there. Oh, I could, but this story ends on page 42, so what would be the point? Suffice to say, heavy horror elements are involved — heavier than those that came into play in LILA, which is one reason why this one bests that one.
Another reason: the art by Kristel Lerman. Whereas LILA’s illustrations by Tony Caso were sketchy and inconsistent, Lerman’s are finished, detailed and oddly beautiful, even when the things they depict — say, a girl snorting a line — are not. Several of her drawings are conceptual, while others are straight interpretations of the story’s situations; all marry well to Florino’s text, to deliver a quick, solid punch.
My only complaint is Florino’s choices in naming. Three female characters have soundalike monikers in Casey, Carrie and Chrissy, while BLOOD EATERS strikes me more as a 1970s low-budget fright flick than the hot new video game of 2010 as intended. Other than that, the steps he’s taking with this ambitious project are sure-footed. —Rod Lott
OTHER BOOKGASM REVIEWS OF THIS AUTHOR:
• DOLOR: LILA — BOOK I by Rick Florino