Reviews of Snuff Flique
by Michael Hemmingson

(2 reviews: Bloodsongs and Mark Ziesing)

(From Bloodsongs, review by David G. Barnett

A few years ago I read a collection by Michael Hemmingson called Nice Little Stories Jam-Packed With Depraved Sex & Violence. Much to my dismay, I hadn't read anything else by Hemmingson since... until now.

Snuff Flique is a collection from Cyber-Psychos AOD, and is as all their publications are -- hardcore horror.

There are six stories here of varying length and styles. I suggest reading this book from beginning to end and not skipping around. It will make the last and title story much more enjoyable. I also suggest bearing with the first few stories, as I didn't find them to be up to par with the level of quality I remembered from Hemmingson's earlier works. The stories experiment in style and sometimes delve into a completely minimalist style that I found choppy and irritating, as with "Two of a Kind". They are quick little tales that seem pointless. But as you read further, each new story becomes more complex, adding more narrative and becoming much more interesting.

Things really get moving with the fifth story, "The Secret Code of the Jellyfish Clan". Here we have six drugged-out lost souls taking a little hellish trip of depraved sex and violence. Hemmingson takes a Clockwork Orange-approach to the narrative. The story progresses while the characters continue to devolve, all the while worshipping The Jellyfish. This story definitely makes up for the less than stellar first three stories.

The book concludes with a novella, which serves to pull together most of the characters from the first five stories. (Actually only four stories, because the two characters from "The Silence of Dirt & Grass" didn't seem to make it into the final story. I found this rather strange.) It took me a little while to catch onto this, because not all the characters' links become clear immediately. This story is packed full of sex, drugs, violence, porn and some seriously fucked up individuals. Hemmingson does an excellent job of weaving these characters and plots together into one main blowout ending. Once again, the weakness of the earlier stories is more than made up for with this final half of the book.

Hemmingson's writing is dark and disturbing as hell. He has a quiet and somber tone that helps the writing and subject matter become even more disturbing.

His fiction is often uncomfortable to read, but impossible to turn away from. And, being the sick bastard I am, I will seek out more of Hemmingson's work. If for anything, just to make myself feel better about my own life. Highly recommended.

(From Mark Ziesing)

Here's the deal on this sucker in a nutshell: 105 pages. Six stories. Five bucks. That'd be a pretty good deal even if the stories sucked. They don't. I'm reasonably familiar with Hemmingson as are most folks that follow contemporary horror. He's nasty but good. Bloody, but somehow charged with a positive spiritual vibe and not a negative one. Weird how he can pull that off. Test him out. (18)

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