Wormwood

WORMWOOD by Chad Lutzke and Tim Meyer

For some kids, Long Lake, Georgia is home. But for fourteen-year-old Baker Gray, it’s just another stop, another town in another state. Because of his mother’s nomadic lifestyle, he’s never had a best friend, never kissed a girl, and he’s certainly never met anyone like Cassandra Larsson—the enigmatic, older girl whose idea of fun blurs the line between right and wrong.

Being hopelessly led by emotions he’s never felt, Baker finds himself plodding along dark paths paved by the girl he thinks he may love—a road to self-destruction, where vigilante justice is encouraged and bloodshed is an art form.

The IndieMuse Review

This collaboration by two well-known Indie authors worked out brilliantly.

For those of you who do not know either author, here’s the breakdown:

Chad Lutzke stories can be a deceptively categorized horror, since he doesn’t rely on blood, gore and splatter to tell his stories. This could lead to some people questioning whether his books are actually horror at all. The talent that Lutzke has is the ability to create (what is known as) the feels. There is a hugely psychological and emotional reaction for the readers, and while it is not jump-scares, it creates this tension because anything bad that happens to a character almost feels like it is happening to you. If you have not read Of Foster Homes and Flies, you are missing out.

Tim Meyer is a more complex author. After the success of The Switch House, fans soon discovered that he is much more open to experimentation. So far, his horror couldn’t be bogged down into a single category, showing his willingness to try new things, whether successful or not. It is always commendable when an author is willing to fail to learn, because it shows constant growth for his art.

Wormwood is a coming of age psychological horror story—maybe even more of a thriller, if you take into consideration there is nothing supernatural in the tale. Baker Gray is a fourteen-year-old who is tired of constantly moving as his single parent (mother) moves to different towns and states, trying to advance her professional career.

When Baker meets Seb, there is an instant connection and their friendship forms almost immediately. Throw into the mix an older (by three years), beautiful and manipulative Cass, and this threesome can only end in disaster. Because you have to ask yourself, what does an older girl want with these two young, inexperienced and gullible teens?

Ah, yes, the crush on the “older” woman dilemma—is it a rite of passage? Who, as a teenager, didn’t go through this?

I will try not to give too much away about the story, but what I will say is this: it is not as innocent as the time Ross made out with Mrs. Altman, the fifty-year-old librarian who had a limp, but only when it was damp.

This book is not all that gory, even though there is some gore, but the authors relied on the story to be the main focus. As a reader of splatterpunk and extreme horror, I can tell you there are none of those elements here, but I’ll be damned if this story wasn’t absolutely superb. While some may find the ending inevitable (and perhaps a little predictable), it was the right way to end this yarn. Anything else would have devalued the experience.

Highly recommended!

MORT STONE

Mort Stone lives in untamed Africa, where he rides his lion to work every morning to slave away as a scientist who learned how to fake competency.

Reading is his passion…well, the one he can admit to, anyway. As an aggressive pacifist, he chooses to fight vicariously through stories which can bring him no physical harm.

While he is almost confidant that his IQ is in the top 50%, his wife regularly reminds him of all the stupid things he does. He will neither admit nor deny the accusations of sarcasm, but he can act like he cares. Most of the time.

As an avid reader of horror and thrillers, and somewhat of a movie buff in those genres, he still blames his insomnia on Global Warming. Because he can.

He would also like to apologize in advance for any swear words which might slip through…he will blame that on the insomnia.