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Spare Key Paperback – 18 Feb 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: LegumeMan Books (18 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980593808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980593808
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,872,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

...This was the way it always started. First he would see them and the air would thicken. Then the image of them bound. Then came the screaming and the Red Room would appear with the glittering, new meathook waiting just for them. And there in the Red Room he could play for as long as he wanted...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I purchased this book at a time, when I thoroughly enjoyed extreme horror authors like Edward Lee, but just kind of "forgot" I owned it. Now, almost half a year after I ordered it, I have come by to reading it, and I have incredibly mixed feelings about this work.

The main story centers around a mentally ill man, who was abused by his mother and has killed many women, who resembled her. He was treated by a psychologist, and is now free to roam the streets (very unlikely by the way, but hey, who expects these things to be realistic?). He moves into a new apartment, and starts obsessing about his next-door neighbour, a waitress, who looks like the mother, who gave him such a hard time. He finds out, that a spare key to her apartment is hidden in an old cupboard of his apartment, and so he plans to kill her.

Well, at the beginning one could assume that this is the uber-violent, mysogynist Murder-Set-Pieces approach to fiction. From page one it is already absolutely clear, that the main character is a psycho, and that the waitress is the victim of choice. There is a major twist, which adds a certain humorous quality to the story, but it is not all that great, for one can forsee it very easily, if one is used to this type of literature.

Books like "Spare Key" usually appear solely to "gorehounds", which means that the level of sadism, sex and violence is ridiculously high, whereas the writing style, the character devolopement and the storyline are mostly dreadful. Well, Hamilton is not too bad of a writer, and his style is very refreshening and easy, but the storyline is indeed an absolute catastrophy. The reader gets lured into the story by a rather intense beginning, but for 150 pages the guy only masturbates, watches the woman, and so on.
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By Nathaniel on 18 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Assuming you looking for extremes in horror then this takes you to a whole new level. A written equivelent of the infamous Japanese "Guinea Pig" movies this twisted tale of revenge is lashed with gore, voyerism, semem and torture.
Compact in length with a minimum of exposition it tries (and to some extent succeeds) to show you the inner workings of the mind of a killer. Frankly who cares? he has a miserable existence.
The only problem is the plot resembles an old Pan Book of Horror tale and you can't help but think...why did I bother? Perhaps I'm getting too old for this stuff...I'll stick with Lovecraft and Lumley.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An exhilerating trip through hell 30 Jun. 2009
By The Lamp - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's hard to assess a book like `Spare Key' without addressing the intensely graphic and disturbing nature of the content. Up front I'd have to say that this isn't for everyone. Most people of sound mind would actively seek to avoid such content and I certainly wouldn't blame them. The word that keeps popping up again and again while reading `Spare Key' is `disturbing'. The graphic (often sexualized) violence is gut churning and the taste left in your mouth afterward is foul.

So why read this book? Simply put, `Spare Key' is a wonderfully realized story that completely reverberates within you. It's not often that I have such a visceral reaction to a book. The story itself follows a fairly standard formula and concerns a mentally disturbed man named Ben who is released from care earlier than advisable. He moves next door to a seemingly "average" woman named Rachel. Ben soon proceeds to form an obsession with Rachel who, according to his warped mind, looks just like the mother who abused him during childhood. Ben has concocted a "red room" in his mind wherein he performs the most vulgar acts of violence upon facsimiles of his childhood tormentor. Rachel is the perfect facsimile.

Using this framework, R. Frederick Hamilton proceeds to decimate everything in his path with the raw power of his disturbing prose. I winced on numerous occasions throughout.

This book is topped off with two short stories that if anything, leave an even more unpleasant taste. The first of these, `The Filmmakers' may rate as the most unpleasant story I've ever read. It's a story about a group of teens who (as the product description says) "degenerate into sadism" and an omnipotent being who watches over the teens as they perform their vile acts. There's no reason to linger on the details of the sadism, suffice to say it involves snuff-like home movies starring local children. I read a review of this book recently that wrote this story off as exploitation but I think that's a little too simplistic. This story is a (much) more extreme version of events that occur daily thanks to the ubiquity of recording devices and bored teens. Just check youtube and you'll be bombarded with footage of teens terrorizing people for the camera. If anything, `The Filmmakers' is a statement against a genuine problem that exists today.

The final story here is `Writer's Block' which is a supremely surreal, uncomfortable story about a son held hostage by his bodybuilding mother. The mother is convinced her son will write a masterpiece and the torment she hurls his way is just a part of the process. `Writer's Block' is about as unpleasant as a story concerning a mother kidnapping her own son should be. There is something pathetically amusing about the narrator's plight and it's certainly nice to get a reprieve from the sickening events of the earlier stories.

All in all, `Spare Key; is highly recommended for fans of extreme fiction. However, there's a strong warning: it's not a nice book; it's not a happy book. Quite simply put, It's sickening. Proceed with caution.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Disturbingly brilliant! 14 Mar. 2009
By Romana Vora - Published on
Format: Paperback
I hadn't heard of this book before a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to accompany a friend to a local signing where I got the meet the author behind Spare Key.

First thing's first; this book is a nasty piece of work in the best possible way! Many scenes leave you wanting to take a shower but for whatever reason, you're unable to put the devious thing down. I walked away as sickened as I was exhilarated.

Also of note are the two short stories that close this book out. 'The Filmmakers' is repulsively brilliant. Then there's 'Writer's Block', which enters into the realm of the surreal. A kid's kept hostage by his body building mother for christsake!

Spare Key is an amazingly written and conceived slab of true horror for anyone who prefers their fiction especially nasty. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for any future books by R. Frederick Hamilton. Highest recommendation.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
up-chuck 'n' over-the-top from the land down under 30 Jun. 2009
By Jason Wuchenich - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ben just got out of the loony bin and moved into a hideous lime-green apartment. The lime green perhaps an attempt to subdue the encroaching red. He needed his pills, especially with the pretty neighbor next door, Rachel. Rachel has had her share of wack-job neighbors and naturally is apprehensive about this one as well - and for good reason.
The story takes you into the depths of psychosis, obsession, deranged fantasy, and finally relief...but not the kind you would expect. "Spare Key" spares no detail on the depravities taking place. The book also includes two shorter stories - "The Filmmakers" and "Writer's Block" - both fun reads, almost like icky aftershocks from the main story.
It's gooey, warped and will leave you feeling sticky. Now buy it and shower.
it was ok 14 Aug. 2012
By foxy roxy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had high hopes for this book but story was mediocre. Not bad just not exactly great. Takes way to long for anything to happen,main character backstory could have been much more interesting but instead is only hinted at. Pacing was an issue,could have been real creepy if author had explored the characters psychosis more. Should have been a short story,like the others included in this book which are much better,much more disturbing. Hard to recommend at current list price.
Dissapointing 17 Dec. 2011
By Harry Taylor - Published on
Format: Paperback
The end itself was utterly disapointing, the novel actually as a whole barely delivers. I would hardly call this a horror novel yes at the beginning there are moments of psychological deformity manifested through the novels main character, but the ending ruins the novel in my mind.
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