From renowned horror fiction publishing company Deadite Press comes a brand new novella of heavy metal terror…Wesley Southard’s One for the Road! While this work isn’t available from retailers until next month, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy, and had an absolute blast reading through it.
One For the Road follows the unfortunate journey of Spencer Hesston, guitarist for the heavy metal band Rot in Hell. Feeling a bit burned out, Spencer decides it’s time to leave the band after their current tour. At the conclusion of the final show, Spencer and his band mates find themselves trapped in a hellish nightmare. This nightmare includes things like spiders with human fingers for legs, vampire creatures, and ever evolving landscapes. Their efforts to break free from their predicament are seemingly in vain, and they must figure out how to survive. Do they?
What a wild ride! I have read One for the Road twice, the first time in only two sittings. Equal parts bizarro and extreme horror, this novella has a ton of instances to disturb you, shock you, and make you want to hurl. Southard does a fantastic job making the reader feel as though he is right there with the main characters experiencing these dreadful occurrences. You can really feel the feelings of dread and despair as the characters weave their way through this surreal landscape.
The narrative itself is short and sweet, and works tremendously well. As a self-proclaimed metalhead and guitarist, I really enjoyed seeing basically all my favorite bands mentioned throughout the story. At just a few pages shy of 100, the story itself certainly felt a lot longer (in a good way!). So much happens in such a short time, yet nothing feels too rushed. One of my favorite aspects of this novella was that not everything is solved by the end. These things happened, and no one knows why, and it’s not explained. It just is what it is. It is refreshingly unsettling.
With One for the Road, Wesley Southard really cements his place among the contemporary horror fiction elite. In just a few pages he combines some of the genre’s best elements, namely ghastly creatures, gore, and suspense, to create a hauntingly surrealist horror experience. Going forward, Southard is definitely an author you want to keep an eye on.
Be sure and grab a copy of One for the Road when it is released on June 15th. Pre-orders for the ebook version are available on Amazon now, with pre-orders for the paperback version to be available soon.