Written by Morgue Anne
Horror Business by Ryan Bradford is a must for fans of horror. If you are an enthusiast of the genre and this book is not on your shelf (next to John Landis’ Monsters in the Movies and Craig Chenery’s Blood Splatter just in case there’s a reference you don’t get), than you might as well be a mindless zombie.
Named after (I’m assuming) one of the greatest Misfits songs of all time, Horror Business combines elements of a ghost story, zombie flick, and even a good old fashioned slasher with a little tiny bit of noir thrown in for good measure. This gives us as readers a witches brew of pure awesome that will give you a chill up your spine seconds before you bust open your guy laughing.
Rather than the usual adult-writing-as-a-child narrative that often leaves something to be desired, Horror Business feels like you’re being told a story from an old friend. Bradford does a fantastic job with the main character, Jason, giving us someone very relatable – a young child with an obsession. Having a passion instead of lots of friends is something I think many people can relate to in their childhood, especially lifelong horror fans. If not, Bradford does a great job showing us what it was like and gives a crash course in the world of scary films. If you are not a ‘hard core’ horror fan, than I would suggest taking notes on names and movies to look up later. Jason is a hard core horror fan. So much so that him and his brother have been making a slasher film, which is surprisingly well written, in their spare time. Naturally, there is the love interest who comes in to play the female lead for their film as well as bring the boys out to play in the cemetery. If you thought Super 8 was good but just not scary enough, this is your book.
But the most character-fun is had with Brock, Jason’s dog. As always, animals are the messengers of doom, and Brock is no exception. I don’t care how many zombie novels you have read and how desensitized you are to small children being used as frightening imagery, this dog is guaranteed to give you the creeps as it goes through its unholy transformation.
Part of the charm of Horror Business lies in the references to classic horror films. Bradford is careful not to go overboard, but every character is named after someone within the genre (Dario, Jason, etc), so if you spend your Friday nights in the dark watching scary movies, or have a very solid argument for whether Freddy or Jason is the best (It’s Freddy, no question), than you’ll probably thoroughly this book with no questions asked. If someone you love suffers from Horror addiction, I would suggest reading this book as a fun starting point and take notes so you can sound like you know what they’re talking about.
This is not a long book, I read through almost all of it while waiting at the DMV -which while many would argue is enough time to finish a Neil Stephenson novel, but served me just fine for the 136 pages between these covers, which I felt was the perfect length. Bradford doesn’t waste time with any filler material; he leaves things just as they need to be with only the facts essential to the plot built in. All in all, this is a fantastic self-published book. I would probably recommend this as one of those amazing YA novels that everyone should read regardless of age, and while this is definitely a must-have for horror fans, it’s also a fantastic book to give to someone as an introduction to the genre.
Horror Business is for sale by the author through lulu.