Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Steven Rage
You live your final days lying in a hospital bed, unable to move or take of yourself while gritting through constant pain waiting for the madness to end. Unfortunately, your heinous deeds during life are coming full circle and sweet death continues to be stayed by the demons that torture you keeping you just this side of the living. One such demon, Morbid, spawned from you through some unholy means dispatches other hospital patients in gruesome fashion. Meanwhile, a male nurse named Westphal makes his way through life looking to make just enough money to score his next drug buy and take care of his ghost stepfather and pet unborn fetus. This is harbor hospital, and this is the end of your life.
Rage’s sophomore novel You Morbid Westphal takes place in the harbor similar to his first novel Pilate. All of the graphic, disturbing and gruesome imagery Rage demonstrated his prowess at in the first book return in this offering. However, in this chapter, these elements seem a less gratuitous, a little more muted, and more securely woven into the fabric of a very disturbing tale. This novel is not for the faint of heart and is extreme in all ways imaginable – really, I’m not kidding. None-the-less, Rage is incredibly creative and talented. It’s hard to fathom what hell might be like – unspeakable pain and agony – perhaps. But I think Rage paints a picture that drives home the concept of a living hell one must suffer due to their heinous choices in life. If the real thing is anything like this, one can only hope and pray for redemption and salvation.
Rage parallels some biblical themes once again, though in an unholy bizarro fashion and throws in a twist at the end reminiscent of the 1987 movie Angel Heart starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. For those who enjoyed Pilate – you will find an even better book in Westphal.