Book Review: Mr. Nasty by Leo Darke

25835403Title: Mr. Nasty

Author: Leo Darke

Genre: Horror, Gore, Supernatural Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Cut!Film and TV extras are turning up butchered on set, the only clues being VHS cassettes of infamous, banned “Video Nasties” on the site of each horrific murder. Is a copycat killer at large, inspired by the vile acts depicted in the notorious tapes? Or could the monstrous characters from the nasties themselves be escaping their VHS clamshells to stalk the land?When supporting actor Tommy Wallace finds both his past and the nasties catchingup with him, surely it’s time to press Eject for the last time. Or is this one obsolete format that just refuses to die? Something is thriving on the violence inspired by the tapes, feeding on a diet of Nazi death camp atrocities, axings and mutilation. And the banned play on…

 In Mr. Nasty, we meet with Tommy Wallace, a movie extra who had the nasty habit of watching “Video Nasties”, banned VHS cassettes back in his teen years. When a fellow extra is brutally murdered, Tommy happens to be on site, and he recognizes the “Video Nasty” VHS tape left behind at the crime scene. The detective who investigates the case, Slade, is instantly wary of Tommy and plans to keep a sharp eye on him.

Tommy tries to get rid of his own collection of “Video Nasties”, a task which grows more pressing as he’s once again an extra on set when another murder happens. And when the unthinkable happens and those “Video Nasties” turn out all too real, Slade and Tommy must combine forces to stop them, or die trying, which sounds more and more likely with every passing page.

The book has a great premise. 39 videos got banned in the UK in the 1980s and a killer reenacting murders from those videos and then leaving tapes behind, that’s just plain genius. The writing is solid for the most part, except that it drags a little. The character exposition, which takes up about half of the book, takes entirely too long, especially considering neither of the main characters turns out to be very sympathetic. Slade is arrogant and a jerk, and Tommy is obsessed with woman, falls in love with every woman who risks to give him the time of day, and ultimately I just couldn’t connect with either of them.

The second part is filled with good, old-fashioned gore, and despite being gruesome, it’s also easily the most enjoyable of both parts. Just not for the faint of heart, though.

So all in all, definitely not a bad read, but the characters are hard to sympathize with.

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