John Dies @ the End
David Wong
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Buy *John Dies @ the End* by David Wong

John Dies @ the End
David Wong
Thomas Dunne Books
384 pages
September 2009
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Douglas R. Cobb's take on John Dies @ the End.

Imagine H.P. Lovecraft ate Stephen King and spawned an offspring with a sprinkling of their traits. That's David Wong. This book starts out with a lot of promise with some very strange monster/demons and really funny scenes. But it falls apart, and by book's end, the writer didn't know where to go.

Hell, or some nasty parallel universe, has sprung a leak, and messengers from the underworld are invading a small town. David Wong and his friend John - he is the one who supposedly dies according to the book's title, but he is very well and living at the finale - come face-to-face and eye-to-multi-eyeballs with a cross-section of nasty creatures. They drink the concoction known as soy sauce and battle their way through chases and hand-to-claw combat.

This is an engaging read until anti-Semitic references start popping up - not once, or twice, but multiple times. At one point, R.E.M.'s song, "Losing My Religion" comes on the radio, but the lyrics are twisted, coming out as, "Ooooooh, knife/plus nigger/Equals you, and Jews are dead meat" and then "That's me in the porno/that's me in the spotlight/Losing my religion/Tryin' to beat a tight-assed Jew." The Jew references as well as the black epithet are apropos of nothing. Similarly distasteful passages appear later.

If Wong is a closet anti-Semite and racist, he deserves to be flogged and quartered. If he is only guilty of unbelievably poor taste, then he needs to get his literary chops together.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2009

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