Wednesday, 29 December 2021


 Hello book nerds!

Today we have a bit of a special feature for you! Instead of doing one review for each book, I have collected all my reviews together and present them to you in this special feature where I review each book of the Clock's Watch Series by Michael Reyes. 

So Here Goes!


Clock the Chaos Mage. A stranger out of time, hidden in the folds of shadow. He is the guardian of Coney Island's supernatural borderlands, and the only thing standing between our reality and the demons that thirst to destroy it.

Clock's Watch. An anthology of heroic dark fantasy and terror. Illustrations by Sean Bova, Jay Campbell and MV.

Coney Island, a confluence of weirdness and demonic powers. Guarded by the diminutive, unseen hero, Clock!

Clock is a Chaote, a chaos mage. A lonely figure that watches over the Island of Narrioch, and is the guardian that watches at the edge of our reality, making sure that the things that come through are sent back on their merry bloody way.

This is an interesting set of stories by Michael Ray about Clock and his adventures in Coney Island. I was first introduced to Michael Reyes’ s writing earlier this year with the frenetically paced The Cursed Diary of a Brooklyn Dog Walker, and said to myself that I need to go back and read some more. And here I am, at the start of his Clock’s Watch Series.

Clock’s Watch comprises of six individual, self contained stories that have an overarching episodic nature and build up to form a complete narrative.

Quite a novel approach (sorry, couldn’t resist).

The first story introduces us to the Coonskin hat wearing, crossbow wielding diminutive chaos mage that stands as a guardian between the worlds. Clock may be short of stature, but he is big on personality, that is when you can see him that is, due to the fact that he is slightly invisible, and most people can’t see him. This has its advantages of course. However there are some that can see him.

When we are first introduced to Clock, he is investigating the emergence of some monster who has taken over the body of a young mother.

As I said earlier, there six stories in total and Michael Reyes fills them with all sorts of weird and wonderful monsters and demons.

There are demons who use a black balloon to possess the living, little red mite demons that live in the guts of racoons and gate crash a party resulting in a Raimiesque tale of blood and slaughter.

An indigo mushroom that plans to reveal Clock’s secrets.

There is much to admire in Michael Reyes’ writing. He has the ability to make you howl with laughter whilst delivering some gruesome goriness. His descriptive prose is very streamlined and he doesn’t waste a word which adds to the overall urgency of the situations that Clock finds himself in.

And can you get away from a review without mentioning Clock himself, the inimitable hero of the story. He is gruff and totally rough around the edges and to his middle, but he is a kind soul that takes his duties as the Guardian of Coney Island extremely seriously and he never lets anything through on his watch.

The book itself is a short read but extremely worth it. The self containedness of the stories make it easy to read and yet the overarching nature of the stories give you that sense of having read a novel. 

 

Clock the Chaos Mage. A stranger out of time, hidden in the folds of shadow. He is the guardian of Coney Island's supernatural borderlands, and the only thing standing between our reality and the demons that thirst to destroy it.

Book II

Clock's wardenship has been compromised. Angered by his refusal to join them in their battle, the Indigo Mushroom and its Mineral Gods have ripped away a layer of his spiritual protection. Clock's identity is no longer hidden from the minds of his greatest enemies. The satanic, cannibalistic Daughters of the Black Moon now gather and ready themselves...For a deadly assault on Coney Island’s protector!

Clock's Watch II: Daughters of the Black Moon. A novella of heroic dark fantasy and terror. Illustrations by Sean Bova. 

 

  


Demonic, killer Racoon, cannibalistic, dwarf eating witches and a twisted house from another dimension are just a few of the bat shit crazy goings on in Michael Reyes second installment of his ongoing series featuring the diminutive warden of Coney Island, Clock.

The second book in Clock's Watch, Daughters of the Black Moon begins with Caleb and Dave in a bar. Dave is a Dwarf, and Caleb is a trust fund baby, who has as much air in his head as the Grand Canyon on a windy afternoon.

Whilst enjoying a little r&r, Dave gets the promise of some sexy shenanigans from a rather stunning young lady with a fauxhawk. She really has a thing for those who are smaller in stature. What Dave doesn't realise is that he is really her type, especially if he is squished between two slices of bread and so rare that blood drips down her fingers.

Thus begins our descent into the marvellous chaos that is the trademark of Michael Reyes's writing.

I am really enjoying my time with Clock and the adventures he gets mixed up in as the Guardian of Coney Island.

Clock's Watch 2, directly continues the story from the first one, and Clock is now being threatened by a past that he can only vaguely recollect. You see, as part of the pact that he made with Discordia, the Goddess of Chaos, Clock has his memories wiped from the time before he became a Guardian.

However (and I will try to keep this as spoiler free as I can, but there are going to be some details, so I will try to be vague), enemies from his past have learnt if his whereabouts and are intent on exacting some revenge on the Guardian of Coney Island for the misdeeds that he did on the past.

On top of that he has to find a hidden nexus that is allowing demons to pop through from the other side and take control of people turning them into flesh eating zombie types. A wizard who wants to raise his now dead Mrs, using an ancient mask that happens to have a hugely murderous protector and should never be taken from the sea and his goddess going all righteous on his ass and using him as a conduit.

All that in about 170 pages! And the other things I left out.

Michael Reyes successfully mixes schlock horror, with weird fiction, adds a dose of sharp dialogue and some uproariously funny scenes

Book 2 of Clock's Watch differs from the first one quite a lot. Whilst the first book was episodic but with an overarching theme, Daughters of the Dark Moon has a more continuous storyline.

If you like your horror schlocky, and your fiction weird, with a smattering of comedy and grossness, then give Michael Reyes a chance.

 

 

Clock the Chaos Mage. A stranger out of time, hidden in the folds of shadow. He is the guardian of Coney Island's supernatural borderlands, and the only thing standing between our reality and the demons that thirst to destroy it.

NOW:

Clock's wardenship remains in jeopardy. The Daughters of the Black Moon and K-SR was only the beginning. Enemies from his deep past gather and ready themselves for an assault on Coney Island's protector!

Clock has petitioned Discordia, yet she remains aloof. Other gods have now answered his call…

11 tales of dark pulp fantasy and horror. Illustrations by Sean Bova.

 

It’s very strange coming to the end of a series when you have read all the books consecutively and watched as a character grows on page.

I have literally spent two years ‘book time’ with the diminutive Chaos mage Clock as he has fought all manner of demons and been attacked by numerous hellish creatures, including possessed flesh-eating racoons (if this has you blinking our eyes in disbelief that the cute, cuddly rubbish eating delinquents are cute, then think again! Racoons in Coney Island are positively possessed).

There are eleven individual tales in Alpdruck, that all link to give one cohesive story. I like this structure a lot. On the one hand you have read a story that is self-contained and completed, but on the other hand you get the feeling of an overall narrative.

As usual, the book is filled with all manner of strange tales that bend the imagination and introduce a whole host of new enemies for Clock to deal with.

One of my favourites was ‘Last Ticket To Party Town’ just for the utterly fantastic image of Clock dressed in platforms and having his customary crossbow strapped to his back. It made me howl with laughter.

Another standout was the final tale in the book ‘Zen Bright’ which I have to admit, is the first story that I have seen which includes the pandemic as a backdrop. However, what absolutely cracked me up, was a scene in which Clock and Sal were attending the funeral of Sal’s mother. In a discussion of the reasons for the pandemic, Sal described that it had started due to the Australian’s eating unsavoury items and that this was all documented in the film ‘Crocodile Dungaree’, starring Ted Danson.

This absolutely cracked me up for a couple of minutes before I could start reading again.

Alpdruck is full of sublimely ridiculous moments like this but is peppered with gross out horror throughout.

I like Michael Reyes’ books a lot. He has this ‘punk’ ethic to writing that I admire, and ever since reading his ‘The Cursed Diary of a Brooklyn Dog Walker’, I have loved his uncompromising approach to writing, and he tells stories that he wants to write.

In Apldruck we learn more of Clock’s past and delve deeper into what made him the Chaos Mage he is today. He has always been a character that is removed from the real world as he lives outside this dimension and this suits him fine, although he does have an overarching desire to interact with some people.

In some sense, there is a very ‘old fashioned’ style to his writing, particularly with the episodic nature of the stories. I mean you can obviously see the Lovecraftian element to his stories in the way that he will superimpose a whole different world on the normal one which nobody else can see, but it feels so fresh.

However, he will then add some decent amount of grossness to it all, or some utter madness to it.

Another story that stood out for me was the Stigmata of Leo Jackson, which gave me some Prince of Darkness vibes, which is a film that I utterly adore, so when I felt that this was encapsulated in this story I was utterly engrossed.

If you haven’t read Michael Reyes’ books, I highly recommend them. They are full of gross out schlocky horror, absolutely sublime, devilish madness and some cracking comedic moments.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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