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Unger House Radicals Paperback – 11 Jun 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Crowded Quarantine Publications (11 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995453705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995453708
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Wow. What a wildly imaginative story! It begins with a young filmmaker (Vincent) meeting an older man (Brandon) and becoming immediately obsessed. But this is no romantic tale; Brandon is a homicidal psychopath to whom violence is a way of life. A religion. In some ways the beginning of their dynamic reminded me of Palahniuk's Fight Club with The Narrator and Tyler Durden, the way one character desperately needed the other and there is the question of identity, a question that comes up time and again throughout the book. There are moments of violence, moments of sex, but despite its graphic nature, I never once got the impression that it was gratuitous. Every scene served the purpose of developing the characters or furthering the story. And it is all written with a poetic prose that just kept me enthralled until the very end. Overall, I found the story of Ultra-Realism compelling and thoroughly well-written and I very much look forward to reading more from Chris Kelso.
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Format: Paperback
I am going to make a rather odd comparison here between the writing of Chris Kelso and Swedish tech-metal pioneers Meshuggah. Firstly, Meshuggah are known for their extreme stylings, complex polymetered song structures and polyrhythms. Meshuggah aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. A whole album of listening is a little too much for me, though I can fully appreciate the excellence of the musicianship and song structure. In a similar way, Chris Kelso isn’t your average writer. His stories are often complex, have multiple themes weaving through them and much like Meshuggah they seem to have a sort of polyrhythmic feel to them, by way of the delivery of the narrative. It often demands you concentration, can change direction in an instant but it is ultimately a rewarding reading experience.

The latest release from Crowded Quarantine Publications sees Kelso venture into extreme horror territory. This isn’t your run of the mill horror story though. Ultra-Realism is the name of the game here as we follow Vincent Bittacker and his murderous lover Brandon Swarthy as they hope to bring their own brand of extreme film to the masses. The book is really a tale of two halves. The first is fairly straightforward in the way it is told. The Unger House, where our aspiring filmmakers reside has a sordid history of abduction and murder and seems the perfect setting for some ultra-violence. This is where the story takes place as our sick couple embark upon a quest to revolutionise film through ultra-realism. Swarthy (a truly vile character) goes through a sort of transformation (I think?!) and the story started to remind me a little of the movie ‘Fight Club’.
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Format: Paperback
Writing reviews should be easy, especially after almost seven years of doing it. A varied and widespread reading within the gene should prepare a reviewer for almost anything the genre throws at them, or so I thought. Yes, there has been the odd struggle with a bothersome sentence or a poorly worded paragraph, but in the main the reviews have come fairly easily. That was until I came upon Unger House Radicals by Chris Kelso, it is a book that made me question my abilities both as a reader and as a reviewer. It pushed me to the limit, knocked my confidence for six and cost me close to 12 hours of deep thought just to get the opening paragraph of the review down on paper. It's a book that will prey on my mind for a long time, but is this for good or bad reasons? Did I find the book challenging, or was the book just a challenge?.....

Unger House Radicals is, in essence, a simple tale; When aspiring and nihilistic film-maker Vincent Bittacker falls in love with mercurial serial-killer Brandon Swarthy they decide to embark upon a bloody journey to re-define cinema and create their own sub-culture - Ultra-Realism. However if you have read any of Chris Kelso's previous works, you will know that Chris doesn't like to take the simple approach. He prefers to take the reader on a journey that while never overly pleasant; it will be a journey that the reader will never forget, thanks to a powerful and unique narrative voice.

Make no mistakes this is not an easy read, in part due to the in your face descriptions of the atrocities that Bittacker and Swarthy commit. Kelso doesn't mince words here; these sections of the story are grimy, gruesome and upsetting.
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Format: Paperback
I had seen this book popping up on Amazon and on Facebook but it really came to my attention just over a week ago when the GingerNutsofHorror review site and two other review sites that I can’t recall just now, listed it in their top five books of the year so far. These guys read a lot of books so a top five even half way through a year is worth checking out.

As usual I went to Amazon and started reading the reviews that were already available on the book. They all seemed pretty positive although they all said it was a bit of a hard read but very rewarding if you made it through. Seemed like a challenge. Anyway, I started the book and quickly got caught up in the story. I’m not going to go over the premise as I’m sure you know that already. What I did find was that it was not written in a conventional style. It has a kind of Leaving Las Vegas/Fight Club, trippy vibe to it. That coupled with the fact that Mr Kelso is clearly a massive fan of the English language means there are probably quite a few words in the book that the most seasoned reader wont have come across before. I would highlight, it’s not a light hearted read for when you need to switch your brain off. You will need to focus when reading and it’s not the type of book you could pick up each night and read a few pages from. I would suggest reading in one or two sittings so you don’t get lost.

The book is beautifully written to the extent that it’s kind of poetic but I do not think it will be everyone’s cup of tea. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and expect great things to come from Chris in the future. He is definitely one to watch.
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