Book review: Bacon Fried Bastard – David W. Barbee

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The superb cover art for this book left me in no doubt that I was going to be in for a surreal journey into the mind of author David W. Barbee. ‘Bacon Fried Bastard’ is a very entertaining book and I think that if you are new to Bizarro then this could be one of the books worth checking out as your entry card into the genre.

In the sprawling city that is Salembruise, alcohol is outlawed! After a particularly heavy session, Piggly Swiggly wakes and goes off in search of more liquor. Along the way, Piggly Swiggly becomes involved with a crime syndicate intent on taking over the city, controlling the police force and manufacturing/selling liquor to the masses. Yes! ‘Bacon Fried Bastard’ is quite bonkers, not too bonkers though as author David W. Barbee paints a vivid picture of the city of Salembruise and its strange citizens.

‘Bacon Fried Bastard’ is a little bit like what I’d imagine a version of Walt Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ directed by Quentin Tarantino would be like. There is graphic violence as Piggly Swiggly explodes with alcoholic rage at anybody getting in his way. It’s Barbee’s characters that kept me reading, they are truly odd and fascinating. Piggly Swiggly isn’t the sort of character you will grow to love, in fact, you are more likely to detest him as his journey into crime continues. Other characters such as the vicious Calimari cousins and their Al Capone style boss Mr Pluto to the steampunk Lawborg are all equally as interesting and original.

The city of Salembruise is brought to life through its strange crocodile zeppelins, metallic domes and its other jungle-like features. Barbee doesn’t info-dump, instead choosing to give the reader just enough details so that we can get a clear cartoon-like picture of it inside our mind. ‘Bacon Fried Bastard’ is a quick read, and one that I really enjoyed. There is a bit of a theme surrounding the pitfalls of alcohol addiction but it never becomes preachy, instead Barbee takes us on a weird journey through a surreal, booze-free city filled with great characters and a nice bit of gore here and there. I like Barbee’s writing style; it’s no-nonsense, easy to read and I flew through this book. A hugely entertaining, genre-blending read.

4/5 slices of bacon

Pick up a copy from here.

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