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Side by Side Book Reviews: THE NIGHT STOCKERS by Kristopher Triana and Ryan Harding


THE NIGHT STOCKERS by Kristopher Triana & Ryan Harding

 Sadie's Review



Kristopher Triana and Ryan Harding prove that not all horror is created equal. NIGHT STOCKERS gets double the gore, explicit sex, and graphic violence BUT as a counterweight, Triana & Harding heap on the character development--making this a dangerous reading experience. I'll explain:

Splatterpunk or Extreme Horror tends to lean into the shocking depictions of violence as the driving force to win over readers. I think there's an audience for that, but it's small. I believe most horror fiction fans show up for a meaningful story and to invest in the characters. This is what makes horror impactful. If there's no opportunity to give a shit about any of the characters, essentially, the entertainment value rests on some pretty thin margins. Horror fans do dabble in the extreme stuff sometimes and I think the success of that experience resides in substance and character. And like I mentioned, there's an audience without expectations like that, but it's small.
All of that being said, Triana and Harding clearly set out to give their audience heaping doses of everything. This book is first and foremost hysterical. I laughed out loud dozens of times. There are tons of pop culture references perfectly placed within the dialog and the story that could only come from two authors who are deeply immersed in that world. Everything from the music, video games, television, movies, slang, and even fashion trends. The authenticity factor is spot-on.

The plot is pretty simple. There are these rival grocery stores in a small town. FRESHWAY and DEVIL'S FOOD. FRESHWAY is your typical, independently owned franchise with your average workplace drama and DEVIL'S FOOD is a cartoonish depiction of a satanic-inspired grocery store. Everyone who works at DEVIL'S FOOD is part of an intense satanic cult--it's hilarious, except when it's not. Triana & Harding know when to put their foot on the gas and when to pump the brakes. There are times when the DEVIL'S FOOD crew are making inverted crosses out of soda cans for a display which reads like a Simpons episode and other times when they're doing a ritualistic sacrifce in vivid, graphic detail. Funny/Not funny. Realistic/Satire and the books straddles that line the whole time.

Over at FRESHWAY, we get to meet a full cast of characters with great exposition, backstory and engaging dialog. This is where it got dangerous for me because I felt myself investing. I'm a *very* emotional reader and I knew I was reading an extreme horror book with two experts at the helm. I got real fucking nervous. What were they going to do to these people? I soon found out.
On a night when the entire FRESHWAY crew is asked to work an overnight shift, DEVIL'S FOOD plans an attack.
This story gets totally bananas. Like full-tilt. I skipped two scenes actually and readers will know exactly which ones they are as they encounter them but just as a head's up, I'll cryptically just say one scene "went there". I didn't think it would and it did and I just didn't want to read the details. And the other scene was the "Pearl Jammers". We can talk about that later.
Oh, I skimmed a part with some horny young boys too.
But skipping/skimming doesn't change my opinion of this book in the least. Triana & Harding offer up what they wanted and I decide what I partake in, it's that simple. I don't judge the entire book off the scenes I thought were over-the-top because for some people, those will be their favorite scenes-that's what THEY show up for.
Also noteworthy: This is a horror book for those who have worked in retail. I listened to a podcast where the authors were interviewed by John Wayne Comunale and both of them worked in grocery stores/retail so they brought that knowledge/experience to the page and it works really well. I worked in retail/customer service for a long time and my daughter works in a grocery store so the setting and all the language is super familiar to me-amping up that authenticity yet again.

This is Splatterpunk firing on all cylinders. A strong contender to win some awards in its genre. It accomplished everything the authors intended for it to do and then some. Totally stuck the landing for me. I had an amazing time reading this book. I'm pissed about some of the choices the authors made, but again--it's because I'm an emotional reader and I guess authors are told to kill their darlings, so...*pout* Oh well. I loved the suspense, the humor, the characters and the technicolor/cinematic action. Well done.


Paul's Review:
Competition can be killer so sometimes you have to take out your rivals by any means.
The Night Stockers is depravity on sale. It is bloody fun with all the other bodily fluids gushing out as a 10 for $10 markdown. The butcher shop stays open extra late for those special cuts of choice meat.
Enough with the jokes because this book isn’t for the faint of heart and if you are easily offended or have no interest in increasingly gory, horrific deaths, then I advise you to shop somewhere else.
If this sounds like a good time then fill you cup from the arterial spray, add some cream from the one eyed trouser snake and get ready for a humorous disturbing battle of evil verses good in this war of the grocery stores.
4.5 stars of not taking yourself too seriously @pbanditp


The Night Stockers

I love Splatterpunk when it is done well. “The Night Stockers” was a fantastic blood bath.

“The Night Stockers” is a story about two competing grocery stores. Freshway is doing well until Devil’s Food moves into town and encroaches on their sales. Todd, the manager of Freshway, decides he wants all employees to work the night shift and clean the store. He wants a complete overhaul so they can launch a grand reopening and boost sales. Devil’s Food is run by former Freshway assistant manager, Desmond. As we can guess from the name, this store is anything but ordinary. The employees are metal head, orgy loving, devil worshiping freaks who want to take out the competition. Let the blood bath begin....

“The Night Stockers” is an action packed, gore filled thrill ride that will get your blood pumping. The authors infused humor into this intense book, which was refreshing. It definitely has that 90’s nostalgia too. Let me warn you, this book is hardcore Splatterpunk and not for unseasoned horror readers. @escapereality4now


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