I've spent time with Jeff Strand in the real world. He seems like such a nice guy. Unfailingly polite, gracious, friendly. Shy, even. Without reading his books you probably woudn't guess that he is a sick individual. And by sick I don't mean extra awesome, cool, or super-neato. I am talking about a man in need of serious counseling.

But aren't all of us, creators and those who enjoy excessively violent entertainment, pretty sick? It's not exactly normal, is it?

I don't read a lot of over-the-top horror these days. Oh, I've experienced my share. Especially in the nineties. Writers dragged me through the bathrooms and the brothels, the autopsy rooms and the charnel houses, the torture chambers and the sex dungeons. It got old. Over the past decade or so I started yearning for atmospheric, quiet horror again. Just like when I started reading people like Charles L. Grant.

Still, I don't mind a bloodsoaked story now and again, especially if it's a good one.

My Pretties is a good one.

Jeff Strand's My Pretties deals with a guy who has a compulsion to kidnap women and take them to his private domain. He puts them in cages so he can watch them slowly starve to death. There is also a pair of intrepid young ladies who are trying to catch him. I don't think I have to point out that things do not go well for the brave heroines.

My Pretties is full of twists and turns, and just when I thought I knew where Strand was going with the story, he turned it on its head and shocked the shit out of me. And being Jeff Strand, he made me laugh as much as he was making me cringe.

Jeff Strand's many readers are going to love My Pretties. That goes without saying. I think, however, that this novel should bring him a lot of new fans. Those who love Richard Laymon and wish there were more of his books to read will eat it up.

In the meantime, I pray that Jeff gets the help he so desperately needs.

Written by Mark Sieber



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