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How Much To..?: (An Extreme Horror)

af Matt Shaw

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1121,434,664 (3.25)Ingen
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Matt Shaw is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors in this genre. This book is filled with so much "normal setting" and dark humor that I often forgot that it would eventually pack that visceral punch to the gut that is a part of the genre.

The story is so engaging that there isn't a dull scene. I wasn't skimming past pages of torture porn, or just going along for the ride. The first half of the book insists on reader participation. While this is going on, we are given a critique on today's money obsessed/ morally ambiguous culture that shows what goes on in the minds of ordinary people who are pitted against each other to win "life altering money" if they only offer the lowest bid on the amount they would accept to perform 10 different tasks ranging from simply stomach turning to prison-worthy acts of violence.

Taking place in England, the book falls between a “Would You Rather" and "Fear Factor" but all in all it totally reminds me of the horror genre-bending film, "Cabin in the Woods". We see both sides of the “story” where the contestants are not just there for the "game", but unknowing participants being filmed for a Pay-Per-View channel whose subscribers are demanding the horror and revulsion when the "winner" is chosen and they are forced to perform the tasks. The book opens up with two office workers who start their “average” day getting ready for the next round of contestants/victims. One guy has been there for 8 years and is training the new hire to take over his position as he is leaving for greener pastures.

The first half of the book is the set up where we learn about the characters, and how they process the questions and assign a dollar amount to increasingly abhorrent tasks. They are bidding against each other to be the lowest, and in return they get the money. Many of them tend to gloss over the fact that they WILL have to perform the tasks they bid on and won, collecting the money or not, the tasks will be done. They rationalize it all by thinking that they couldn’t possibly be asked to do exactly what they think is being asked, because most of it is illegal. Some lull themselves into thinking that the whole thing is a dare, and each is bound and determined to come out the “winner”.

The first part of the book is told in God’s View where we are in the mind of every character at any point, including the two office drones running the game. Thereby giving us the thought processes and perspectives of characters who are hiding their motivations and choices from the others.
The second part of the book is the punch. This is where the “winner” must perform the 10 tasks they bid on. No going back, and no quitting. We are given the first person POV of the winner. It doesn’t go as they had hoped it would.

All in all, I totally recommend this book to readers who are looking for something different, fun, very dark, sick and twisted, but nothing that will leave a stain on their soul or needing a mind bleach.
( )
  Rellwood74 | Feb 18, 2021 |
Quick read and as a Matt Shaw book goes it helped with my extreme horror fix, but the story itself was a little lite for me. ( )
  CaseyMorris | Feb 23, 2020 |
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