Black Cat Mojo by Adam Howe
In these three novellas of blackly comic crime and creature horror, you’ll go slumming with well-endowed dwarf porn stars, killer badgers, redneck mama’s boys, morbidly obese nymphomaniacs, dumbass dog-nappers, trailer trash Jesus freaks, diarrheic Jack Russell Terriers, not-so-wiseguys, mob-movie memorabilia collectors, junkie blackmailers, and giant man-eating Burmese pythons.
After a couple of science fiction tales I was has a distinct hankering for something a bit more down and dirty, something a bit criminal. Black Cat Mojo by Adam Howe delivers exactly that. Be prepared, things are about to get proper freaky…
OF BADGERS & PORN DWARFS
To pay back a gambling debt and avoid being castrated, washed-up dwarf porn star Rummy Rumsfeld (of Snow White spoof Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Up Your Ass We Go) must overcome a geriatric pederast, redneck pornographers, a morbidly obese nymphomaniac with serious personal hygiene issues, the ghost of his religious zealot mother, a dwarf-eating badger, and George Lucas.
Poor old Rummy Rumsfeld. What is a washed up midget porn star to do when the jobs have dried up and his fondness for beating on the Giants has gotten out of control? His only option is a job that has the potential to clear his debts. If only he could actually get there. Rummy will have to get passed a whole squad of nut-jobs and maniacs if he has any chance of success; all that and a really angry badger to boot. The poor fella is doomed. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I can adequately describe exactly what is going on in this story. You just kind of have to experience it yourself.
JESUS IN A DOG’S ASS
Dumbass desperadoes Hootie and Poke incur the wrath of a trailer trash church group, not to mention God, when they kidnap a Jack Russell Terrier with the figure of Jesus Christ in its butt.
Goofball criminals, a kidnap (or in this case dognap) and a scheme that quickly goes awry. Hootie and Poke are a couple of idiots who are keen to give anything a try as long as they think there might be a quick buck in it. A religiously endowed mutt seems like the perfect victim. Darkly comic, and with a spectacularly gross ending, it reminded me of Trainspotting of all things. This was my favourite story of the entire collection.
FRANK, THE SNAKE, & THE SNAKE
After testifying against notorious mob boss “Snake” Cobretti, embittered ex-wiseguy Frankie “The Tin Man” Piscopo emerges from Witness Protection to embark on a disastrous drug deal that leaves him fighting for his life against a giant Burmese python with a taste for Italian-American.
To round things off there is a more traditional crime tale. Frankie Piscopo is trying to live a quiet life and avoid any unnecessary attention. Unfortunately, a chance encounter with a fan sends Frank right back into the life he thought he had left behind. Crooks shafting other crooks; it doesn’t get much more classic than that does it? This had an old school vibe and a giant snake as well. What more could you ask for?
I enjoyed this entire collection. Howe has an ear for snappy dialogue and it is evident in each of the stories. The back and forth banter between characters is what really makes each novella come alive. There are a whole host of weirdos, and the situations tend to start off bizarre and just get weirder from there. As an added bonus, Black Cat Mojo also contains a nice little additional short that moves from the realms of crime into all-out horror. I’ll not say more for fear of spoilers. Very cool though.
A word of warning, you may have already figured this out already but I’m going to say it anyway; ignore this at your own peril, Black Cat Mojo is full on adult entertainment. For some I’d suspect that Adam Howe’s writing is going to be that one step too far. Personally speaking I wasn’t offended, but then I’m a thick skinned old so-and-so. I think he does a grand job of pushing things right up to the limit but never overstepping the mark.
Sometimes surreal, often sacrilegious and cheeky as hell. If you are looking for a short, darkly bonkers anthology that will make you exclaim “WHHHAAATTT????” on more than one occasion, then look no further.
Black Cat Mojo is published by Comet Press and is available now.