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Story Time Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Horror Isn't A 4 Letter Word
by Matthew Warner
Guide Dog Books
$29.95 HC

With his latest book, HORROR ISN'T A 4-LETTER WORD, Warner starts right off the bat by stating the obvious. Well of course Horror isn't a four letter word. Any fool can plainly see that. You can see that, right?

This book is a collection of non-fiction writing largely taken from his columnist work at Horrorworld.org. It also contains one fiction piece which is excellent, but too short to review in any capacity for the problem of giving anything away. Matthew has the fiction story here as a way of writing about its gestation period after the fact.

There's a lot of good stuff here. Matthew, at one time, worked for a fraudulent company that bilked writers out of millions, and were shut down by the U.S. government and sued for at least as much as they ever made. Matt has his side of the story on that.

Matt tells of the time that some local yokels in his small town tried to outlaw an adult bookstore.

Matt tells of his trials and tribulations with his wife, with her Mother, with speaking before an audience, and so much more.

Matt also compliments me in an article from 2005 that I either overlooked or forgot over time.

For a guy who is quite low on the writer scale - not even a midlist writer - he also gives writerly advice. When it comes to advice, there are two people I don't listen to: those who have had incredible luck (or ruthlessly successful agents - please tell me where I can find a ruthlessly successful agent!) achieving their high status, and those who are two low to have actually achieved any amount of status outside their small cult group of readers, friends, and family.

Yet at the same time I have to admit that Matthew is, at least in my mind, an undiscovered gem. His prose pulls you willingly and curiously through his books to the end. He draws his characters and places with such an experienced tone that even if you have no idea what he's talking about, you know that HE knows what he's talking about (or is more than able to bullshit his way through it). As such, even when he has you utterly lost in his story, you're fascinated by the surroundings.

That's a pretty sharp way for any writer to create fiction, but amazingly it carries over into his non-fiction. When friends are sitting around a table, talking about their week, Matthew is the one who can make his drudgery interesting. He's the guy who will say,
"You'll never believe it. I was emptying my dishwasher, same as every night, when all the way in the back I noticed..."
And everyone else will sit there, listening, hanging on every word to find out just what the hell it was that Matthew saw! In something as urbanely common as a freaking dishwasher. Look out, Harvey Pekar!

In the final analysis, that's the meat of HORROR ISN'T A 4-LETTER WORD: Matthew Warner talking about his life experiences as a writer. Unfortunately, and even for a Horror writer, Matthew hasn't led a very interesting life. Happily, he has a VERY interesting way of writing about it.

Four Bookwyrms.


This review copyright 2008 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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My review of Matthew Warner's
was the first time I gave a book all 5 Bookwyrms.

Matthew Warner's second novel
was the first time reviewer Mike Casto gave all 5 Bookwyrms.


Feo Amante's Horror Home Page and feoamante.com are owned and copyright 1997 - 2008 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
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