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.