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Horror movies, reviews and more at buried.com
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Booger (2004)
Fiction Review by The Mortician

Booger (2004) Despite horror fiction and film being more popular than ever these days, it seems that the 'breakthrough' author in the genre is getting rarer and rarer, despite the successful Leisure line that spotlights icons like Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum...That may change with Franklin E. Wales' new novel, BOOGER. Here is a new and original voice from the ultimate fan-cum-artist. For those who don't remember, Mr. Wales was a staple in the indie scene in the late '90's with his tireless coverage (and reviews) of horror movies in all the major publications, from DRACULINA to WORLD OF FANDOM. He was a champion of the scene and even participated in a couple of productions (THE ALIEN AGENDA and SCREAMING FOR SANITY). Wales has now turned his sights on the realm of genre novel writing...BOOGER is a challenging novel told in the the simple, down-home style of Joe R. Landsdale. It's set in sunny Palm Beach County, Florida, and amidst all the warm weather and beautiful scenery, there's an undercurrent of madness taking place. Children are being kidnapped (and possibly murdered) right out of their bedrooms...The story begins with David and Jan Thurston, a likeable young couple whose child is kidnapped and presumed dead.
Before disappearing, the kid starts getting a genuine fear of the dark and being left alone in his room, telling his parents that 'the Boogerman is gonna get me.' (That'd be child-slang for Boogeyman for the uninitiated, hence the title of the book...)David Thurston has a breakdown after his kid is kidnapped and killed. He ends up in the Sunnyville Mental Institution for seven years trying to regain his thoughts and sanity. In the interim, wife Jan divorces him and his mom ends up in a rest home...Finally let out of the asylum, David painfully tries to mix back into society with limited success. Holing up with his brother Matt and his young family, David gets his old job as garbage man back, rekindles romance with the wife, and visits his mother, where another potential romance could possibly develop with a pretty young nurse...But all is not well for David. Homeless people are talking about seeing a strange entity who took his son all those years ago, he's seeing visions of maggot-ridden zombies who warn him to stay away from his old digs, and his mom gives him the creeps with some of her insights into the past which she has no business knowing...Worse yet is his young nephew Kip, who is now starting to cry out at night that 'the Boogerman is gonna get me!' And what's with the strange slime left at the scene of many of these child abductions and murders?As David tries to investigate for the sake of his son and nephew, he begins to seriously question his sanity. Can he hack it in this cold, cruel world? Or is all this really the last vestiges of his sanity slipping away? When David's closest family members and friends begin to get killed off by something unseen yet unstoppably pure evil, David knows he's onto something, but he doesn't realize how otherworldly it may be until he teams up with a local stewbum named Artie, who may or may not hold the key to a lot of unanswered questions... It seems that Artie's son was also murdered in this same town over a decade ago under similar circumstances...Finding a solution to the problem becomes of the essence when David's young nephew is kidnapped by someTHING and the same trail of slime he saw seven years ago in his son's bedroom window is visible...Can the youngin' be saved this time around by David and his unlikely partner, Artie? As a matter of fact, my favorite line in the book comes from Artie, who seems to sum up the entire theme of BOOGER with this quip: 'There's more to life than just facts and figures. Just because you don't believe something, doesn't mean it's not true...' That can be applied to so many things in life, and this book is not without a meaningful, intelligent philosophy to boot.BOOGER draws you in with the simplest of concepts: two Everyday Joe's, a trashman and a homeless dude, who decide to take on the local town legend: the Boogeyman. Most good books by masters like King and Ketchum have simple concepts, yet they transcend those concepts into something new and special......which is exactly what Wales does with BOOGER. The characters are interesting and believable. They have problems and flaws, just like you and me. They make mistakes. They overthink some things, underthink others, and the reader never really knows what to expect next, which is no easy feat for any writer in this day and age of media oversaturation. With all the death going on around them, there's also a nice subtext with our main characters each trying to come to terms with the afterlife and their religious beliefs that fits nicely into the mix.I'd highly recommend BOOGER to any die-hard horror genre fan. There's plenty to offer: a cool, unstoppable monster that takes many shocking forms (think William S. Burroughs and Cronenberg here), suspense, well-rounded characters, and plenty of action and grue to boot. There's also a couple of knock-out 'wet-splatter' scenes that will have you screaming out loud, although Wales doesn't go TOO far with his grue, just enough to keep things messy and uncomfortable...There's also a really wicked seduction scene that happens on the beach that will have you shouting out loud, unable to turn the pages fast enough in order to find out what happens...(It's one of those situations like watching a slasher movie where you constantly yell at a character in a scene, 'Oh, no, don't do it! DON'T DO IT! DON'T GO THERE!' Very effective in the book format! Wales is clearly a FAN for the FANS in this regard!)Will our unlikely heroes save the day? CAN the Boogeyman be stopped? Is the 'Boogerman' really supernatural or just another crazed serial killer with a bag full of smoke and mirrors? All these questions are answered most satisfyingly in this ultra-hip novel! Think Stephen King surprises, Jack Ketchum terror, and Robert Bloch suspense and you have a small part of what Frank Wales delivers here---this BOOGER is a very special treat, worth a pickin'!
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