First published back in July of 2015, US author Shaun Hupp’s novella ‘Pound’ offered up a short but juicy slab of blood-soaked extreme horror.

DLS Synopsis:
Matt had been through a lot. He knew he was hellishly overweight and not exactly easy on the eyes. The kids in school reminded him of this enough so he wouldn’t forget in a hurry. Nevertheless, what they did to him a few years back was just plain wrong.

Back then he’d thought he was about to have his first sexual experience. He’d fantasised about it long enough. That night he thought he would finally get some. But of course, it didn’t end up that way. Instead, he’d been tricked and humiliated in front of everyone.

Now he relied on internet porn for his sexual needs. Although he could barely manage a minute of bashing one out before fucking Tony Miller started taking the piss as he always did. Pointing and laughing at Matt’s grotesque form. His short, stubby dick.

Of course, Tony wasn’t really there. Matt knew that. He knew the repeated appearance of the school bully was just a figment of his imagination. That the real Tony Miller wasn’t anywhere near his parents’ house. Largely because they lived in the middle of frigging nowhere.

Their isolated location was one of the reasons why a sudden knocking at their front door came as a surprise to Matt. His parents were out shopping, as they always did on a Saturday. He contemplated not answering the door, but decided he probably should.

He was glad he did when he found himself confronted by a decidedly hot girl standing on his doorstep. Apparently, her car had broken down nearby and she needed to call for a pickup truck.

Although the girl seemed to want something more. Even Tony Miller could see it. And he wouldn’t shut the fuck up about giving her one. Jeez, this time it looked like Matt might actually get some.

At least, that was what Nikki wanted him to think…

DLS Review:
Despite it’s page count, this is actually a very quick read. The text size on each page of the paperback is large, with bigass line-spacing between each row. As such, this is maybe more akin to a lengthy short story than a full novella.

Anyway, what we have here is pretty much a paint-by-numbers extreme horror story. I don’t mean that in any particularly critical way.  It’s just the set-up and resulting violence, rape and murder is all fairly textbook for this type of offering. Again, not a particularly bad thing – just calling it as it is!

The story is constructed via a handful of roving first-person perspectives. We have Matt’s, which is largely a dialogue between him and the imaginary presence of the school bully. Then you have Nikki, the sizzling hot girl who turns up at Matt’s door spewing a story about her broken down car (but is actually looking to rob the place). You also have the storyline of Devin, a huge brute of a man, who quite frankly struggles to keep his cock in his pants, or indeed, reign in his particularly dark urges when he’s supposed to be robbing a joint. And finally, you have the somewhat harrowing perspective one of Devin’s victims (Trish), who’s on the receiving end of Devin’s said twisted urges.

The story starts out with each of these characters’ separately running storylines being told pretty much in parallel with each other. The individual chapters jumping from one character to the next. Of course, the storylines all eventually converge together, and we get the full picture of what’s going on. Why Matt is the way he is, and the real reasons for this Nikki lass being at the house (alongside the eventual link-in with the character of Devin).

Along this route however, we’re dealt a hand of seedy grubbiness (mostly involving Matt’s sexual frustration and resulting fantasies), along with some hefty over-the-top rape-with-forced-necrophilia (I kid you not). There are of course numerous bouts of gruesome violence sprinkled throughout, along with some delightfully visceral descriptions of some nasty-ass gore.

Yep my friends, this here’s a Happy Meal of extreme horror, served just the way you like it. And to be fair, Hupp delivers the grisly goods over and over again, without disappointment. A side helping of a backstory about Matt’s experience of being bullied, completes this pull-no-punches soiree of excessively exaggerated humiliation and violence.

Like with most stories of this nature, none of this is going to shock or appal even your casual reader of extreme horror titles. In all honesty, it’s not designed to. It’s there to entertain in a wickedly dark way. Hupp knows this as much as the next man, and as such, throws in bouts of dark humour accompanied by a wicked grin across the entire gruesome proceedings.

The novella concludes with a somewhat surprising 2-page author note, in which Hupp tells us the inspiration behind this graphic and gruesome story – his experience of being the victim to bullying at school. I say surprising, purely because the tone suddenly shifts to reality, with all humour left by the wayside. Kind of makes you smile to see Hupp leaving his demons behind and making something positive out of such past problems.

The novella runs for a total of 72 pages.

© DLS Reviews


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