Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alice and Dorothy by J.W. Schnarr

288 pages
J.W. Schnarr
Northern Frights Publishing
Amazon buy link - $2.99 (kindle format)
Drive Thru Horror - $2.99 (other formats)

The Blurb:

A FAIRYTALE OF SEX, DRUGS, AND MURDER...Alice Pleasance has just killed a man.Later, while suffering a heroin overdose, Alice visits a nightmare world of playing card royalty and violent tea parties. Worse, Alice discovers that her broken mind has dragged something out of her delusions and into her waking life. Something evil.
Trapped in a psychiatric ward while dealing with her drug addiction, Alice finds an unlikely friend in Dorothy Gale, a girl who knows all about other worlds and the duality of life. Sweet, gentle Dorothy, who carries a stuffed dog named Toto and has a few secrets of her own.Now they are on the run, escaping vengeful drug dealers, trigger happy cops, and the horrors being created inside Alice's own shattered mind.
And while Dorothy clings to the promise of love as she chases a tornado across the country, Alice clings to her sanity, because the creature sharing her mind has a growing bloodlust that will not be denied.

Holy crap. This book is gritty, demented, and ultimately unforgettable.

I had such a soft spot for Alice and her "Alice in Wonderland" psychotic episodes. I worked with homeless people for several years, many with mental illness and drug addictions. Schnarr's depictions of that kind of life mixed with a mental illness ranks amongst the most realistic and visceral that I've come across in fiction. When Alice is screaming at the voices in her head, hitting and killing as she tries to deal with the fractures in reality, I recalled the stories that homeless people often told me about their own lives.

Alice and Dorothy's adventure, or killing spree, or descent into insanity (it depends on what point-of-view you're using) grabs your senses and runs with it.

It was a difficult book to read, but far more difficult to put down. It pushes the envelop, and creates a masterpiece.