Title: Psychic Teenage Bloodbath
Author: Carl John Lee
Release date: October 28th, 2022
Uncle Carl returns with his 5th release and 2nd of 2022!
I don’t know how I’ve struck gold here, but for some reason Carl and I have really hit it off and it’s always pleasant to get emails from him every few weeks. Coincidentally, I’m writing this review on the one year release-aversary of my novel Incarnate, which Carl kindly did the cover art for.
A month or so back, I get an email from Carl with the subject line “Advance Copy of The Ballad of Sh1tty Pants Joe” but the 1 was an I – don’t think for one second Carl has lost his edge. I chuckled and opened and it found a digital copy of his newest attached, kindly created by his son. He gave me a brief summary and finished it by saying this – “I go places in this one even people wouldn’t like Uncle Carl would!”
Good grief was he right.
What I liked: If you’ve read any of Carl John Lee’s work, you’ll know what you’re in for – only this one goes full Spinal Tap and turns the extreme knob up to eleven. If you require Trigger Warnings, Uncle Carl has provided them, and boy are there plenty here.
The novel opens with Charlie and Susan, two teen girls secretly in love, surrounded by a town and school full of homophobic jerks. At the big dance, they sneak away, only for a horrible attack to happen and Susan ends up in a coma, totally paralyzed. But her mind still works, and after a year of struggling, she’s finally found the ability to use and a control others.
It’s with that stepping stone that Lee really begins to unleash bloody torment on all who wronged her and Charlie, even as Charlie struggles to comprehend and understand what is going on.
This will remind readers of Carrie but also of the extreme horror reads from back in the 70’s where characters were belittled, bullied and beaten for being ‘different.’ Lee does a solid job of doling out revenge, while making the main characters sympathetic and strong.
Of course, it all comes to a tremendous and stomach-churning finale. In the afterword, Lee notes that he tried at one point to present this as a film option but the budget would be astronomical due to the amount of special effects that would be required for the gore. I completely understand.
What I didn’t like: This is a weird one, because every single character that Lee creates for the reader to hate ends up getting eviscerated at some point, so while normally those characters would be a negative for some readers, it gets resolved throughout.
I will say again – there are Trigger Warnings listed and this is a novel where you would be best served to take a glance at them before diving in. Nothing is safe and some truly horrible events occur within.
Why you should buy this: Well, by this point, Carl John Lee should really have a subscription service, because if you’ve read any of his work and loved it, you know you’ll be getting this one and diving in. For new readers, I think this is a perfect spot to jump in and be introduced to Uncle Carl’s deft prose and deranged paintings. And as always, the Author’s Note/Afterword at the end is hilariously ridiculous and makes me hope some day we’ll get an autobiography from him.