"Worm" Book Review
Written by Tim Curran
2013, 117 pages, Fiction
Released on May 14th, 2013
To be brutally honest, I'm kind of hoping to read a weak novella released by DarkFuse. As a reviewer, my plate is full, but they keep putting out books by authors I like and I keep adding them to my ever-growing pile of titles. When I looked at the cover of Tim Curran's Worm, I knew it probably wouldn't be the first mediocre tome that would allow me to stop obsessing about their new releases. I was right. You win again, DarkFuse.
Curran wastes no time placing readers in Pine Street, somewhere in the USA. After a short earthquake, a black, vile-smelling, viscous goo comes bubbling up from somewhere deep underground. It seeps through cracks and comes into houses via the plumbing system. After a while, the streets become impassable, and the neighbors soon learn that their biggest problem is not the goo outside but the toothy worms that come with it, and those are inside. What follows is a gory, action-packed tale that's ridiculously entertaining and deserves to become a creature feature.
Supernatural horror is great, but there's something undeniably awesome about stinky worms with big mouths full of sharp teeth. Curran knows this, and he makes the most of it. The worms bite, kill, attack, burst out of pipes, gorge themselves on human flesh, break down doors, and even eat a small dog. However, the most interesting thing about the fetid, slithering monsters is how they become a vehicle for Curran to showcase his tight prose and seemingly limitless capacity to talk about the same things in ways that make them sound like new. Every time one of the multiple characters encounters a stinker he or she has to describe, and Curran does without ever becoming boring.
The second thing that makes Worm a treat is the gore. Besides the biting, ripping, smashing, and even a corpse shaking while sitting on the toilet, the thick, inky liquid becomes very interesting when the author starts suggesting what it is and where it came from (yeah, I'll let readers find that out for themselves). Here's a taste of the eloquent, unique gruesomeness that Curran brings to the table:
"About the time Tony hit the floor, the tongues yanked Bertie into the worm's jaws and the teeth came down, splitting her open like a piñata, her bones cracking like walnuts. Her upper torso dangled from its mouth and the incredible pressure of the jaws made her dentures fly from her mouth along with a mist of blood. Her eyes popped from their sockets and her guts were forced up her throat. Then it sucked her all the way in and she was gnawed and chewed before being drawn down the canalicular tunnel of its throat."
Horror is a lot of fun, and Worm is proof of that. If you're looking for very complex plots with descriptive passages that belong in classic Russian novels and characters with full back stories, look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a taut, fun, grisly read, ignore the stench and sink your teeth into this one.