Thomas Joyce is a book/audio reviewer at the excellent This Is Horror. If you have not been over there to check out their site, listened to the excellent podcast, or joined them on Patreon then you’re a fool. This is Horror is great source of all things horror and the Grim Reader gives them his highest recommendation!
Today, Thomas Joyce reviews Violence Dave: Heartless from Bizarro Pulp Press and Kostantine Paradias. The cover is awesome and screams “MUST READ!”. So, without further ado, I will hand you over to Mr Joyce. Thanks heaps, Thomas, for this excellent guest review. Much appreciated.
Book Review: Violence Dave: Heartless by Konstantine Paradias
He has published over 100 short stories in English, Japanese, Romanian, German, Dutch and Portuguese, including many stories in horror anthologies featuring Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and more. But my first encounter with his work was Sorry, Wrong Country, the wonderful collection of nonfiction vignettes based on his experiences living in Greece released earlier this year by Rooster Republic Press. His latest release is more in keeping with his earlier horror stories, but it is fast becoming clear that Konstantine is a master storyteller regardless of the subject matter.
Violence Dave: Heartless is a novella-length blend of Science-fiction, horror and action published by Bizarro Pulp Press and with wonderful cover art from Justin T. Coons. It is reminiscent of the early incarnations of DOOM, which Konstantine has cited as an influence on the story. The story begins on a dropship on its way to drop a platoon of soldiers off near the “Heart of Darkness” during a conflict. There is little in the way of exposition in the early stages of the story; indeed, Paradias opts for a more integrated style, allowing the plot and the characters to develop throughout the tale.
Viewing the story through the first person POV of Dave, we are immediately thrust into the action as the platoon is attacked upon landing, suffering casualties straight away. But none of it seems to phase Dave, as it becomes clear that he has experienced it all before. Is he a reincarnation? Is he a robot? Is he experiencing a post-apocalyptic groundhog day? At this early stage in the book anything is possible. What is clear is that Dave isn’t prepared to simply allow the events to unfold as they seem to have done in previous incarnations. He sets out on his own path to the Heart of Darkness, which proves to be a portal to Hell, a result of mankind going where it shouldn’t have gone.
The story plays out as a series of well executed action sequences, while exploring the history of the hellmouths. The many enemy soldiers Dave meets along the way are brilliantly described in all their grotesque glory by Paradias, from the foot-soldier dog soldiers to the massive Behemoth, as too are the futuristic weapons at Dave’s disposal. His shotgun is christened Bielebog, a Slavic deity of light and Sun, while another weapon is named Czernobog, often seen in mythology as Bielebog’s counterpart. These mythical/mystical references add another layer to the story that, along with the mysterious hints at Dave’s knowledge of events to come, stop the novella from being solely about the action.
Paradias brings all of the elements together in a wonderful way to create an entertaining, action-packed science-fiction tale of man versus demon that kept me captivated until the end. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Violence Dave. And hopefully we will continue to see Konstantine Paradias blasting through genre barriers and growing as a writer, because the man has style in abundance.
5/5 Bielebog-blasted demons.
Pick up a copy from here.