Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: Welcome to Hell by CK Houghton

How would you feel if you woke up in what seems like the fanciest Caribbean resort but had no memory of how you got there? Would you think your buddies were playing the greatest trick in the world on you? Would you maybe get a tiny clue when the temperature continues to rise to uncomfortable levels?

In CK Houghton's wicked new novella, Welcome to Hell, Teddy Jameson wakes up disoriented. He's not where he was before he went to sleep. He asks, "Where the hell am I?" He doesn't pick up on the answer: "Oh ho, funny, very funny, indeed, Mr. Jameson." Thus begins Teddy's conflict between disbelief in what he knows is right and grudging acceptance of the fact his circumstances are vastly altered. Even though the Devil himself welcomes him, Teddy can't accept the charming man who looks more like Brad Pitt than our childhood image of horns, cloven hooves and flamesis the real Devil. Has to be a trick played on him by his best friends. He was just making love with his girlfriend.

Houghton leads Teddy through a series of events that repeat themselves over and over. A drowning followed by rescue followed by drowning. Still Teddy doesn't want to admit what he's seeing. The resolution of Teddy's disbelief comes after many scenes, threats and promises of eternal damnation.

Take a healthy pouring of Jonathan Swift's satire. Stir in black humor. Add a slug of morality play when the Devil explains what is in store for Teddy's eternal damnation. Stir well. Sip. Repeat.

Houghton hits two of my favorite writing elements, satire and black humor. If you are a bit bent, as I am certainly bent, this novella is for you. Sit back and enjoy. You'll find it's worth the ride.

Follow CK Houghton as Kristen Houghton on and She's the author of the wildly funny novel, No Woman Diets Alone--There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut.

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