WHARGOUL (Deadite Press, 2010) by Dave Brockie (the founder and front man of GWAR, who sadly passed away in 2014) is a nonstop titillating slaughterhouse of a book.
The story is about the Whargoul, a creature born in war, fathered by a bloated, horrifying thing that lives deep beneath the earth and feeds on suffering. Thrust into combat in Stalingrad during World War 2, he feeds on human souls, his rage driving him to kill in combat. Immortal, he rises again in various wars, creating carnage, rape and murder everywhere he goes. What makes him likable is he understands his nature, he hates what he is, and even after the many, many horrible things he’s done, he is searching and hoping for redemption.
The narrative jumps from World War 2 to the invasion of Iraq to a modern race war. One battle, one slaughter, after another, but oddly, while the story stretches toward being too much, it never got tiring for me. Somehow, Brockie kept the narrative fresh, and he wrote with abandon. I could almost picture him laughing and shouting the story at me. Just a glance at the cover suggests, yeah, this book is going to punch me in the face.
Lurid, sweeping, detailed, joyously violent, that’s how I’d describe Brockie’s prose. I kept returning to the book thinking, I’ll just read a bit more, and then I was at the crazy, exploding climax, and next thing I knew, the flaming wreckage had settled and I’d reached the back cover.
WHARGOUL takes a bit of iron to read, but it’s a mad ride, and for those who like some crazy in their words, it’s a fun ride too.