Monday, March 03, 2008

Goon, by Edward Lee & John Pelan

(pb; 1996)

Review:

The story: Captain Phillip Straker, a member of the Violent Crimes Police Unit, and Melinda Pierce, a reporter posing as a ringrat (a wrestling groupie), are tracking a prolific serial killer who has sex with, and partially devours his (or her) victims. The crimes seem to be tied to one particular suspect -- the titular, mysterious, always-masked Goon, a wrestler in the DSWC (Deep South Wrestling Conference) who easily could be making more money in big-time wrestling, the WWF or WCW. As Straker and Pierce get closer to closing the case, however, new clues emerge that suggest there's more going on than initially meets the eye.

This gross-out of a novella is a hoot to read. It's less a horror story than an unrepentantly sexual tract, not written to titillate but to amuse, with its tasteless over-the-top X-rated debaucheries (many of their descriptions uttered by some disgusting and wildly verbose characters). Writing-wise, it reads like the bastard child of Robert Devereaux's Santa Steps Out and Lucifer Fulci's Siki City (both of which were published after Goon was published). The comparison to Devereaux's Santa stems from the well-edited, fast-dashing storyline; the comparison to Fulci's Siki City stems from Lee and Pelan's gleeful, unrestrained sidetracks into lurid carnality.

Lee and Pelan maintain an addictive balance between these disparate elements, set in the surreal, low-brow world of small-time, regional conference wrestling. They then top it off with some tasty twists, the biggest one not unexpected, but solid, followed by a few smaller, inspired ones.

Highly recommended, this, if you have a strong stomach and a nasty sense of humor (in regards to sex-mocking smut). Like much of Lee's work, this would make a great B-movie.

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