First published in June of 2016, British author David Owain Hughes’ novella ‘Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything’ continued further with the author’s ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016) series.  Along with the main story, the publication also includes the short stories ‘Wind-Up Toy: Happy Birthday, Simone’ which was written for ‘Madame Movara’s Tales of Terror’ (2016) anthology, and ‘Wind-Up Toy: Playtime, Simone’ (2016) - which had previously been released as a stand-alone ebook a few months earlier.

DLS Synopsis:
Simone had gone to the church to seek solace.  There he would confess his numerous sins in the confessional box.  It was time he unburdened himself.  Time he brought an end to the murderous pathway he’d been walking.

It didn’t take Simone long to start talking about his troubled past.  The priest listened on as Simone told him about where things began going wrong for him.  Of course, it all started with his mother.  The pain that it left Simone with when she took her own life.  She was the first woman to abandon Simone.  She would prove to be the first of many.

With the ever-faithful Mr. Tickles by his side, Simone was telling his story when his mobile phone buzzed, alerting him to the receipt of an incoming text message.  Pausing for a second, Simone read the message.  It was from Chrissy Sandoval.  A name he hadn’t uttered in at least six years.  She’d always promised to get back in touch if she was ever back from the US.  And by the sounds of things, she was back.  The second woman Simone had ever loved and then been abandoned by, was back.

Through Chrissy, Simone had learnt what a dominatrix was.  She was one of three performers for the Flesh Flaying Fiends: the world’s most deranged dominatrix act.  He’d first seen her performing at the Klitty Kingdom - a ramshackle dump located in his beloved hometown of Porthcawl.

There Simone had watched the dominatrixes beat the living shit out of a handsome local as part of their performance, before turning their attention to Simone.  It was a night he’d never forget.  It was also the night that Simone had fallen in love with Chrissy.

Now Chrissy was back and apparently she had big news for him.  But Simone was done with it all.  He was done with his despicable life.  Done with all the killing.  And most of all, he was done with women.

Right now was confession time.  But afterwards he may be able to find time to meet with Chrissy.  He could meet with her and let her experience the sort of pain she’d put him through.

Now that sounded like a plan…

DLS Review:
So here we are once again.  Willingly taking a stroll through the sordid, filth-encrusted backstreets of David Owain Hughes’ horrendously perverse mind.  The original ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016) story was one hell of a sleazy little read.  In it, the sheer volume of filth and depravity certainly equalled, if not exceeded, the graphic levels of violence and gore that was also on offer.  Nevertheless, ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016) was undeniably still what you would call an ‘extreme horror’ novel.  The sordid stuff may have been high on the agenda – but it still delivered the gut-punch of a nasty-as-fuck horror - rather than just fulfilling the grimy criteria of sleazy erotica.

With ‘Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything’, the ratio of perversion compared with ‘violence and gore’ has gone up in favour of the seedier side of things.  In fact, other than a few choice moments (I shan’t spoil these delightful scenes for you) there’s very little of what you would class as actual ‘horror’ in the majority of the story.  That’s not to say that it’s not still a horrendously disturbing read.  In fact, be warned – Hughes has not cleaned up his act one bit.  ‘Broken Plaything’ is every bit as distasteful and despicable as the original novel was – if not more so.

In essence ‘Broken Plaything’ (as well as the additional short stories included) are all bolt-on tales to the original story.  ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016) introduced the character of Simone and set out the perverse intricacies of his messed-up life whilst simultaneously playing out a nasty little storyline.  It was originally just a self-contained story – and it worked damn well!  These additional ‘Wind-Up Toy’ stories wouldn’t really work all that well when totally independent of the original novel.  Together the stories form a much more involved and intriguing picture – however if you’d not already read ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016), then I doubt you’d get all that much out of these additional offerings.

Being a short novella length, as you’d expect ‘Broken Plaything’ adds much more to the wider ‘Wind-Up Toy’ story than the other, far shorter stories do.  Here we have an interesting wrap-around tale which takes us back to when Simone was a young impressionable lad, on to his discovery of S&M as a timid young nineteen-year-old man, and finally jumping forward to the period not long after those crazy-ass events which were detailed within ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016).

It’s an interesting approach to take – slotting itself in both before and after the events of the original story.  But to be fair it works perfectly.  In particular the framing device with Simone’s confession to a gob-smacked priest stitches everything together neatly and very effectively.  The story also flows incredibly naturally – with the flashbacks and reminiscing taking on a more dominant role than the ‘current time’ side of the story.

Fans of the original novel won’t be disappointed with where Hughes has gone with this bolt-on story.  It’s not the next chapter in Simone’s life like many would have expected.  Nevertheless it fills in so many of the gaps, and pulls together so many of the elements within the first tale that it’s sure to please.

I suppose I can’t really sign-off on this part of the review without addressing one small detail within the story: the inclusion of myself within the sordid setting of this filth-ridden story.  In case you hadn’t guessed, the fella that’s pulled up on stage at the aforementioned Klitty Kingdom is none other than the gentle reviewer addressing you now.  In the story (I should emphasize that it’s just a story!) I’m then subjected to some pretty horrific treatment at the hands of these three dominatrixes.  Since reading this delightful excerpt I’ve been informed by Mr Hughes that when he wrote that part, it had him in stitches the whole time.  Nice!  I guess you get what you ask for!!! (actually – I couldn’t stop laughing when I read it – but I feel I should at least feign embarrassment).

The novella runs for a total of 76 pages.

Wind-Up Toy: Happy Birthday, Simone – 7 Pages
It was Simone’s fourth birthday.  He’d be spending it with the one person in the world he truly loved – his mother.  His sister had already gone off to school by the time he climbed out of bed.  He’d been allowed to take the day off.  His mother was good like that.  Let him do things he’d enjoy – even if they weren’t necessarily what would be deemed as the right things to do.

The day had only just begun, but it was already looking like it could be his best birthday ever.  Pancakes for breakfast and a handful of presents to be opened.  One present in particular would of course be from his mother.  This year it would prove to be a very special present indeed.  One he’d end up cherishing for the rest of his life…

Here we have another ‘bolt-on’ style story.  If you read it in isolation, with no prior knowledge of ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016), you’d probably be thinking WTF?!  But read alongside ‘Wind-Up Toy’ (2016) it fills in a small gap whilst laying down just that little bit more of the history behind Simone.  Strangely, aside from this, there’s not really all that much else within the short.  It sits nicely within the ‘Wind-Up Toy’ series, but to be honest it isn’t much of a story in itself.  Nevertheless, if you’re now submerged in the seedy cesspit that is Simone’s world, then there’s plenty in there to get you smirking and feeling that the ‘Wind-Up Toy’ franchise is really fleshing out quite nicely now.

Wind-Up Toy: Playtime, Simone – 13 Pages
Simone had warned Cartwright never to speak about the beating he’d given him and his two thuggish mates – let alone to come back for more.  Yet here Cartwright was, seeking some sort of payback.  But this time the idiotic bully didn’t have his two goons with him.  It was just him on his own – Phillip-John Cartwright – looking to settle a score.

Ever since he’d first fought back, Simone had stopped being scared of the bullies.  Now was no exception.  Cartwright might be after his blood, he might be bigger and tougher than him, but Simone always had a trick up his sleeve.

This time Cartwright was getting more than a pounding to his nether regions.  This time Simone was going to sort the bully out once and for all.  Then if he’s lucky, maybe he’d go home and have himself a little peek through the floorboards at the show going on in the room below.  It was enough to get him hard just at the thought of it.  If only they all knew how good his life really was…

What we have here is a short, snappy and straight-to-the-sleaze offering that takes us back to Simone’s younger years, to the time when he fought back against those thugs who’d been bullying him.  Here however Hughes lays down much the details that comprised of Simone’s twisted revenge.  It’s harsh, uncompromising and utterly barbaric.  But let’s be honest, what the hell did you expect?!   Hughes isn’t one to sugar coat these things.

However putting the final nail in the coffin for this particular bully’s comeuppance is only half the story.  What else did young Simone get up to whilst he was growing up?  What else chiselled him into the fine example of an honest citizen he turned out to become?  Oh yes – for the rest of the short you’re treated to the sort of godforsaken filth that would make even the most insistently-defensive bishop blush.

David Owain Hughes has one hell of a sick and depraved mind.  Let’s pause for a second and ponder what must go on in this man’s head if this sort of filth is the end result.  So don’t pretend you don’t know what you’re receiving, should you decide to get your grubby mitts on this selection of stories.

Pure unadulterated lowbrow filth.  Oh how we love it!

The collection as a whole runs for a total of 96 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Wind-Up Toy’ instalments:

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