Jeff Jacobson's Wormfood is the literary equivalent of a '70s/'80s horror flick set to paper. That disgusting, yet all too fun, squirmy feeling that you got from movies like... well... Squirm, or the 2006 film Slither, is all right here in this delightfully gross little book. Jacobson has really hit the gag reflex with this one, that's for sure.
Arch Stanton has a bad job that's about to get a hell of a lot worse.
He's sixteen, scrawny, and dirt poor. He has an almost supernatural ability with firearms, but it may not be enough to survive the weekend.
Welcomes to Whitewood, California, an isolated small town in Northern California, a place full of bad manners and even worse hygiene. Money is tight, jobs are scarce, and bitter rivalries have simmered just under the surface for years.
Fat Ernst runs the local bar and grill. He'd stomp his own mother for a chance at easy money, and when he forces Arch to do some truly dirty work, all hell breaks loose.
Fat Ernst's customers find themselves being infected by vicious worm-like parasites and dying in unspeakable agony. As events spiral out of control, decades of hatred boil over into three days of rapidly escalating carnage. Will anyone in this town escape...before thy're eaten alive?
Packed with disgusting scenes designed to make you writhe and shiver in revulsion, Wormfood is likely one of the most fun books I've read in a while. You can almost feel the nasty little creatures slithering around under your clothing as you tear through the book, from scene to squishy scene.
Told in the first person, what Jacobson has created here is something that will surely catapult him into the genre as someone that gorehounds will want to keep an eye on.
The writing style of the story is incredibly easy to become engrossed in, feeling much like a tale told over a beer (or several) in a seedy bar on the outskirts of town. Jacobson ensnares the reader using dialogue laced with stereotypical backwoods jargon and flow, giving a certain weight to the characters and their individual peculiarities. It's very apparent from the get-go who is good and who is bad. But the fact that there seems to be a bit of darkness in every character makes the bad guys...badder.
And as for the gore...the glorious, grisly, gruesome gore...
Y'all know I love me some gore, and what Jacobson has done here is create exactly what a reader should feel when looking for a proper gross-out. All too often we - the genre readers looking for something nasty - are presented with violent scenes of depravity in a very visceral and realistic manner mostly depicting the humiliation and degradation of men and women from a physical and psychological point of view. While Jacobcon has done this (and well, might I add), he has also brushed aside most of the 'real life' style of gross, and ushered in a more comic styled, monster filled, over-the-top kind of disgusting. And all of this was achieved by directing the description to out guts as opposed to our brains. You don't have to think to know that this stuff is gross.
I laughed out loud at some points in this novel, but also kept reading because of a sort of trainwreck compulsion to keep an eye on the gore. I just couldn't look away.
If you like your books to be fast paced and sick, you're going to want to get your hands on this. If you're looking for a great gross-out and want to test your shudder factor, this is definitely a piece you should check out. This book is not for the faint of heart. Personally, I'm hoping Wormfood gets picked up for a graphic novel or optioned for film, as the cinematic quality of Jacobson's writing is well above par.
You can contact Jeff Jacobson at his website, and on Twitter. Wormfood is available from Medallion Press. Also, check out the Medallion Press website for interviews and an audio trailer to the book.
I really wish I had copies of this to give away, as it's really one of those rare treats that is just so severely sick, that I want to share it with everyone. Get out there and get it, folks.