Monday, September 14, 2009

Billy Bong by Yeva Wiest

TITLE: Billy Bong
AUTHOR: Yeva Wiest
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 24k)
GENRE: Horror satire
COST: $3.50

A decades-old murder. An aging killer with a twisted sense of vengeance. Oh, don’t forget the hoodoo man, two grave robbers, a senior citizen hairdresser and her seventy-six-year-old client determined to solve the riddle of her son’s death, Betsy Wetsy, and a skull called Billy Bong…

Few authors create such whacked out, unique, colorful characters like Yeva Wiest. Sometimes, she reminds me of Carl Hiaasen, the zany plots and bright casts he always manages to come up with. Even when the humor might not necessarily work for me, her characters are never dull and always unusual.

This novella starts out in 1970, with Billy Boone getting high in a motel room with a prostitute he’s picked up. Their “date” turns sour quickly, and he ends up dead. His biological parents never learn the truth until decades later, when the prostitute who killed Billy gets mad at him all over again and hires two men to steal his head for her so she can get a bong made out of the skull. Yes, you read that right. And the story only gets crazier from there, zigging and zagging from character to character until they inevitably crash together at the end.

To try and describe all the characters would take the joy out of reading it. As always, they are a cast that runs the sexual gamut – lesbians, married men, straight men, cross-dressing men, straight women, you name it. Several shine, like Janice and Sarah Beth. In 1970, Janice had stolen Sarah Beth’s husband from her, but once she realized the only thing he had going for him was his cock, she dumped him. Sarah Beth in turn decided not to hold it against Janice because a good hairdresser is always hard to find, and the two women have been friends ever since. They’re the ones who hop a bus to Houston to try and find out what happened to Sarah Beth’s son (Janice’s stepson), and their antics drive the plot forward, even when it lurches into creepy territory with the killer.

Did I laugh at the story? No, not really, but I did smile, and when it was done, I had vivid impressions of each and every single one of the characters. One thing to note, too. I’ve read and reviewed two other releases by this author from this particular publisher, and had issues with them editorially. That was not the case in this one. There is still some headhopping, and there are still occasional errors, but nothing nearly as detrimental to the reading experience as before. It’s wonderful to see. It makes it so much easier to enjoy the author’s creative imaginings when I don’t get tripped up on spelling mistakes.


8/10 – Swift and graphic, and far fewer editorial mistakes as previous works


8/10 – This author creates some of the quirkiest characters out there


7/10 – Points for originality, though some of the coincidences seemed extreme

Entertainment value

7/10 – Not as funny as I expected, but always interesting

World building

8/10 – Unique and immersive



1 comment:

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Wow, this sounds crazy...LOL A skull bong? Had a friend with one waaaaay back when we were teens. *grin* I think I may have to give this a try!