Friday, January 21, 2011

Bleed For You by Michael Louis Calvillo

Michael Louis Calvillo is a powerhouse. The sheer amount of energy, raw emotion and uncompromising brutality that laces this novella is something to be awed by. The storyline is tight as hell, and one can't help but feel absolutely connected to the main character. All of this in just the first 10 pages, and it only gets better from there.

Love sucks. Just ask Freddy. The little geek’s hot girlfriend keeps promising him that she’ll do the right thing and break up with her other boyfriend, their high school’s star quarterback, but what do you know? She never seems to get around to it.

It drives poor Freddy nuts and has him shaking his fists at the cruel heavens. The virgin blood boiling in his veins can’t wait. An official team of doctors have officially confirmed his ability to love and have given his emotional meter their seal of approval. No more hospitals. No more meds. Free and clear.

So never mind the baseball bat hidden behind his back (it’s precautionary, you know?). Oh, and never mind the hacksaw stashed in the lining of his trench coat (more precaution). Freddy is in love, and though it sucks, it makes everything all right. It makes everything in his scrambled brain smooth and clear. And when he says, “Girl, I bleed for you,” he means it just how he says it and not the other way around.

I honestly can't believe I wasn't introduced to Calvillo's writing before now. If I had been, and if this novella was any indication of his standard storytelling ability, I would have been waiting with baited breath for this piece. Guaranteed.

Like I mentioned above, this is one tight and brutal piece of fiction. The writing style is very succinct, allowing the reader to visualize just enough in order to get the feel for what Calvillo is trying to convey with his words, which is exactly what makes this story so damned enthralling. The author has a way of cherry-picking the most incredible combinations of words, and honing in on the exact emotion he wants you to feel - a skill most writers can only dream of. The fact that he does with in such short bursts only goes to prove how massive this writer's talent is, and begs roughly the same question as I've stated above: Why haven't I heard of this author before?

The main character - Freddy - is of the complicated variety, eliciting a varied amount of responses from the reader; most of which include shock at how one could possibly side with someone so utterly...well...fucked up. There's a beauty to something like this though. While you're morally condemning this character's thought processes and actions, you can't help but cheer him on, aided by the voice of the geeky little underdog that lives inside your head. He's lonely, he's sad, but he's also a little more than pissed off. I don't know about you, but I can name a legion of males, aged 13 to dead, who can identify with this character in one way or another. But rest assured, Freddy is one sick puppy.

Calvillo really brings you on an incredibly emotional journey here. The ups and downs that the main character experiences are absolutely palpable. They just lift right off the page and smack you in the mouth with every turn of the page. The action is almost constant, and even when it isn't, the story line just zips along smoothly. There are rocky bits here and there, but they all involve the reader actually trying to stomach the scenes that the author has laid out for the taking. I'm not kidding when I say that this is one seriously brutal read.

In spite of the bloodsoaked gore-fest, this is essentially a love story told with a main character that is, quite obviously, mentally disturbed. This does not detract from the reader connecting with the main character at all, though, but instead kind of sets the stage for a grand reveal that is absolutely mind blowing.

When Calvillo wants to shock - he shocks. When he wants to 'wow' - oh boy does he 'WOW'!. But let it be said: there is a method to this man's madness, and an incredible talent the likes of which we don't see in the bigger markets very often.

I'd say that this is one of the strongest novellas I have read in a very long time. Definitely worth the cash, alright. Right down to the cover art, which is phenomenal, and very fitting for the content of the story. In fact, it didn't dawn on me that the cover is that perfect until after I'd finished reading. Brilliant.

If you like your horror literature bloody, emotional, sometimes hard to stomach, and fast paced...you're going to want to go and get this book, pronto.

Go get this book. It's available in a limited mini-hardcover run of 150 ($19.95 - preorder price), but also as a digital copy ($4.95). You can pre-order here, and check out the rest of Delirium Books products here.

Check out more of Calvillo's work at his website. Based on my experience with this novella, I'm going to go out of my way to pick up everything this man has ever written.

PBH.

3 comments:

  1. That cover looks amazing! Great review. Book is going on the list :)

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  2. I'm not sure if the genre is horror, but Calvillo's other work entitled, "As Fate Would Have It", is a great read as well. You might want to check it out. :)

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