The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Book of the Week!

Hardcover Honey's Book of the Week!

On the Lips of Children – Mark Matthews

I'll be honest – I don't really use my Kindle much.  I far prefer the creak of a binding, the smell and texture of paper, being able to easily flip back and refer to something I thought I noticed earlier.  But for better or worse, e-books are here to stay, and and even your Hardcover Honey is forced into the digital world from time to time.  Such is the case with Mark Matthews' “On the Lips of Children”, which I read recently in one short burst on my Kindle, and for the most part, enjoyed.  

The book clocks in at a tight 150 pages and no time is wasted, as it kicks off with an especially gory prologue in a horrific underground cave off created by the collapse of a drug-smuggling tunnel.  Ever since the ever-popular sixth-grade spelunking trip (what, you didn't go on one of those?) caves have held a certain fascination for me, so I was intrigued at once.  Trapped in this hellish atmosphere are Lupita and her husband Dante, who are starving, dusty, wasting away.  Worse still, they are accompanied by their twin children, referred to only as Q (the boy) and T (the girl).  Lupita considers smashing T and Q's skulls in to give them a quick death instead of watching them wither and die, but when Dante stabs someone else who is also trapped with them, Lupita finds a new and horrible way to feed her babies.

Smash cut to five years later and we are dropped into the story of tattoo artist and aspiring marathoner Macon, who is visiting California with his girlfriend, serious runner Erin, and their angelic daughter Lyric.  Macon is in town to run the San Diego Marathon, which he hopes will prove his worth to Erin and convince her to accept his proposal of marriage after he crosses the finish line.  When Macon heads out for a warm-up run, things go wrong fast as he encounters a group of homeless men who steer him towards the bloodthirsty cave family from the prologue - T & Q are still around and are beyond feral at this point.  When Erin and Lyric go out several hours later on the same path, expecting to catch Macon on his way back, things go even worse.

There was a lot to like about this book – the story was original, the characters fully fleshed out (haha, fleshed out, I assure you this will be funnier once you've read it), the action sequences vivid, and the horror all-too-convincing.  Unfortunately, I am not the best reader for this particular tale, since cannibalism is absolutely the one thing I can't handle in my horror entertainment.  So asking me to read and rate this one would be like asking our Revenge Honey to watch some sort of animal torture – she will gladly watch every slasher movie known to man, but throw in a helpless puppy getting kicked and she is DONE.  Only my abiding love for Guy Pearce made me eventually see “Ravenous” and even then, I could feel the bile rising up in the back of my throat.  By that measure, “On the Lips of Children” worked for me.  I just wish the cave-dwellers had been some other sort of creatures!!

The Verdict: Three gross disgusting sinewy bookworms out of Five for this one.