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The Torture of Girth
Nicholas Alan Tillemans
Tillemans, 290 pages

The Torture of Girth
Nicholas Alan Tillemans
Nicholas Alan Tillemans is a humorist and writer of extreme adult horror fiction. His provocative short horror stories have appeared online and in two print anthologies. His first published novella Hard Ball is a dark comedy with a large cast of crazed characters wading through an absurdist landscape where life is cheap. It stands in contrast with his horror stories, where the horror is more graphic and the humor less obvious.

Nicholas Alan Tillemans Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Acetone Enema

A review by Sandra Scholes

Harry Gorman is an unhappy man in a marriage that is doomed to failure. It also doesn't help that she is unfaithful and overweight -- a trait that has turned off many men before him. Springwood is a place where people keep themselves isolated, not caring about others, but there is a purpose in mind for all of them, and Harry gets a taste of what that purpose is when he starts to commit evil acts against others while believing that he is being used by an alien spirit and is in fact doing their bidding. What is actually happening is that he is being used to find an ancient evil and prevent it from escaping the underground prison it came from.

The big question is whether he can stop the evil, or will he be too late?

This, for me, has to have one of the most unusual covers I have ever seen on a book; a home scale and blood spattering all over it gives you a good indication of what to expect from this novel from the man who brought us Acetone Enema. I remember reading his earlier collection of short horror stories, finding them just as raw and diverse as this novel. It might be easy to think that Harry is using his thought that aliens have taken over his mind as an excuse for the evil he has already done to others, but as you read through the story, you might have a different viewpoint later. Just as Men in Black had humans co-existing with all manner of aliens, The Torture of Girth has a similar setting. Harry's disappointment with his wife makes it easy for him to do what he does to others and also make himself his own hero.

As with Nicholas Alan Tillemans' earlier book of short horror stories, Acetone Enema, if you are of a nervous disposition, or don't like gory descriptions of maiming, for example, you might not want to read this either as it is rather graphically violent. Tillemans is one who wants to shock his readers, and manages it rather well. It is enough that his protagonist has an obese wife who gives him no pleasure, while she gives pleasure to other men. He has no love for her, lives in a cut off community isolated from others and the isolation can make others crazy, so imagine if you will the effect Stephen King's The Shining had on the Torrance family and you will know what I mean. If you can stomach graphic descriptions and like reading modern horror novels then this might be for you as the writer can bring you straight into the story using very little words to lure you into the thick of the situation -- in this novel's case the mind of Harry Gorman who could be seen as mad, or perfectly sane depending on your opinion.

Copyright © 2014 Sandra Scholes

Sandra is still thinking Tolkien had the right idea of whiling away the rainy days and nights writing in his favourite genre -- must take it up for a longer period next time. When I'm not writing short stories, I review for Albedo One, Hellnotes, the British Fantasy Society, Diverse Japan and my own blog.

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