Blister by Jeff Strand book review - Read Remark

Book Review – Blister by Jeff Strand

Blister is a freak. And you’d better keep your distance, or she will infect you with her freakiness.

At least that’s what the townspeople would have you think.

Blister was the May group read selection for the Goodreads Horror Aficionados group. I went into it thinking it would be a portrait of a monster with supernatural elements, but there is no actual horror here. Instead, it’s rooted in reality, and the metaphorical monsters are the townspeople.

Quick Blister Summary

Blister follows Jason Tray, a cartoonist whose life mantra may as well be “You’re not the boss of me!” His big mouth and impulsive actions get him in trouble, sometimes in hilarious ways, but mainly to the consternation of his agent.

During his latest time out, Jason is holed up in a small town when he goes along with some drunken good ole boys to peek through the window of the town freak. They call her “Blister,” but her name is Rachel.

Though his big mouth gets him in trouble, Jason has a strong (though well-hidden) sense of ethics and returns the next day to apologize to Rachel. What begins from there is an unlikely friendship that scandalizes the town and her overprotective father.

Interesting Stuff

Jeff Strand does some interesting stuff with this book. His writing is straightforward, presenting the events without forcing too much emotion. Blister is sad without begging for your tears. It’s horrific without trying to make you scream. It shows shocking events frankly, even with a bit of a wink.

And let’s not deny that there are some horrific moments in this book. If you’re squeamish, it may be too much. But then again, Strand doesn’t present the gory stuff in a gory way. He doesn’t delight in every cut, every drop of blood. Everything shown is essential to the story.

I expected to see a complete horror show. But I didn’t know whether it would be a “pile of severed heads in the corner” horror show, or an “intestines hanging from the ceiling like party banners” horror show, or a good old-fashioned “floors soaked with blood” horror show.

Jeff Strand, Blister

 Being a person who likes to get to the point, I appreciate that in an author.

And this horrible series of events somehow turns out to be heartwarming in the end. Of course, without being treacly.

Jeff Strand
Published June 2016
Sinister Grin Press

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