thomaswjoyce's review against another edition

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A thrilling weird crime novella written in the authentic voice of someone from Texas who knows the streets, knows the people and how they talk, and knows how to convey it all on the page with honesty and conviction. From the first page I was hooked by the genuine portrayal of a less-than-likeable protagonist who only seemed to sink lower as he was sucked into the nightmare that is the new drug Mojo, but who ultimately sought to do the right thing. Dark, meandering, mysterious (not unlike the songs that were an essential influence), this story is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.

joshuamarsella's review against another edition

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Some doors are better left closed. This story was like a bad trip on some bad drugs but in a good way. A new meth is in town and it opens a door in your mind that keeps you straight until start coming down. Then the trip really begins. Loved the many references to The Doors and The Lizard King! Bob tells a unique story about drugs, dealing and how things can quickly go bad.

brennanlafaro's review against another edition

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While they don’t do it with all their releases, I’m enjoying how Perpetual Motion Machine will sometimes package a novella with a somewhat related short story from the author. In the case of Bob Pastorella’s release, you can read a story entitled “Pork Chop” - a 16 page affair that led to the book you’ve just read, unless you go out of order, but you’re not a monster. Are you? The story introduces one of the most interesting characters in the book, a kind of Southern Americana version of a James Bond villain who’s grafted together with kevlar.

After reading and thoroughly enjoying They’re Watching, the book co-written with Pastorella’s This is Horror co-host, Michael David Wilson, I was eager to see what portions of that book germinated from Bob’s imagination, and therefore eager to dive into Mojo Rising. This one steers into more of a gritty crime noir that feels like it only could have been penned by a writer from Texas.

Don’t get me wrong with the crime noir comparison - we definitely steer into horror territory more than once or twice. During these instances, Pastorella embraces the grotesque with a mentality that says I’m looking, so guess what? So are you. Pastorella also perpetually embraces the bizarre. In a book that centers around drugs and references The Doors this often, wouldn’t you have to?

If I had one complaint, it’s one of personal preference. My favorite stories put character ahead of all else, and though our protagonist - Juney - is an interesting guy, most of the importance is placed on setpieces and surroundings. It works for what this novella struck me as trying to accomplish. I simply didn’t find myself as invested as I like to be in the people.

Mojo Rising is exactly the type of book one might expect to come out of Perpetual Motion Machine. It’s fast, fun, strange, and contains masturbation. Trigger warning? If that’s your fare, by all means, dive in. If you just want to see what This is Horror’s resident anecdote machine can do with a pen, or a laptop anyway, check out Mojo Rising.

Review/rating coming soon