Itch is the first novella I’ve read by author Ash Ericmore. Even though he is fairly new on the extreme horror scene, he seems to be a busy guy, releasing novellas less than a month apart.
In this story, there is an infection—nobody knows where it comes from and nobody knows how to stop it. Once you get the rash, you are pretty much done for. It doesn’t turn you into a zombie, but you become some kind of animalistic sex fiend, who screws anything and everything until you die.
We follow Janie (not the “Janie’s got a gun” girl, because they don’t allow guns in Britain, so it would just be damn unlikely), a young girl in an unhappy, abusive relationship. Where can she go? What can she do? Will she survive?
I think there are a lot of people who’ve had their fill of zombie stories—I should mention that I went into this one blind. And while this is not technically a zombie story, it follows the same recipe—infection, loss of control, violence, death. I get the feeling this author will be very much like Jon Athan for me, who is hit and miss. The quantity over quality system is not something I am fond of—as a reader, when I feel I have wasted my time, I become very reluctant to stick with an author. There are just too many books worth reading to get bogged down with a maybe.
Something else about this system that rubs me the wrong way is the polishing of a story. Some people will feel an editing mistake here and there is not the end of the world. But, if you want to be taken seriously and sell a product to people, you need to be professional. I can forgive something small like using the word ‘new’ instead of ‘news’, but when you swap the names of two characters in a scene, it feels sloppy.
The author also gives away the twist at the end—there is something the main character does close to the beginning of the story which tells the reader what’s going on: Just because she doesn’t know, it isn’t hidden from the audience.
The thing this author does right is to get covers for his stories which draws attention. Whether you judge a book by its cover or not, when it catches your eye you will most likely read the blurb, at the very least.
The final thing I want to touch on is marketing this story as “painted with the blackest of humor” was misleading. Most of the humor fell flat for me because it felt somewhat juvenile. There was only one thing that made me chuckle—the implication of what she was about to do was funnier than when she said it.
Having said all of that, and in all fairness to the author, I might be a little overly critical and, therefore, am not willing to write off this author just yet. As luck would have it, the book I read right before this one had a very similar theme (infection, end of the world, etc.) and I found it impossible not to compare the two stories. While this one had an inferior story, the ending would have been better if I hadn’t figured it out so early, which left me very disappointed. I will give this author another go—after reading the blurb this time—and figure out if I was too hard on him or not.
Itch: Extreme Horror by Ash Ericmore [4/8/21]
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It’s an infection. It starts with a rash. Then you change. Something has come from the farms. Something … contagious. And in all her years of watching horror films, Janie has never seen the infected act like these do.
DescriptionIt’s an infection. It starts with a rash. Then you change. Something has come from the farms. Something … contagious. And in all her years of watching horror films, Janie has never seen the infected act like these do. These infected are acting like no one had ever seen. And everyone has caught it. These aren’t zombies. They are something much, much more violent. Full of vile acts of assault, heads disgorging brains, obscene acts with rolling pins, and death by garden gnome, Itch is certainly not for the weak of heart, or feeble of stomach. Itch is an extreme horror novella, painted with the blackest of humour. Consider this a trigger warning for just about everything.