Simone is a good looking man who lives in the Welsh town of Porthcawl and has a dark past and even darker secrets he hides every day. As a boy, he was raised by his single mother and would occasionally be left in the care of his older sister – a sister who would sexually abuse him at every opportunity.
Since childhood, Simone has had an odd group of friends, whom he refers to as his “crew.” The crew is a group of toys that include a clown and G.I. Joe figurine, and he hears each of their voices in his head. As he talks to his toys and they talk back to him, you instantly know there is something very wrong with Simone.
At the beginning of the story, Simone calls a local Samaritan hotline and gets in touch with Toni, a university student who works at the centre part time and one who looks forward to each subsequent call from Simone as he tells her all about his childhood and his Mistress, Chaos. With each call, Toni becomes more infatuated with Simone and her infatuation leads to her giving him her mobile phone number so they can talk when she's not at work. Eventually the two decide to meet.
I'm not going to give away any more major plot points because if you are an extreme horror fan, you need to dive into the complexities of each character and experience story itself. However, I will warn you that many parts of this story are difficult to read. We get detailed descriptions of the sexual abuse Simone is subjected to as a boy, and Chaos is not a pleasant person when it comes to what she does to her “slave,” Simone. As the story progresses, it becomes more violent, disturbing, and gory, all the way up to its shocking conclusion. These things, blood, uncomfortable sexual situations, and violence are all right up my street, but some may find them a bit too much. If you're easily shocked or offended, steer clear of Wind-Up Toy.
This is my second book by this author and although I wasn't a huge fan after the first one, Wind-Up Toy effectively captured my attention and held it with its brilliant character development and vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was there, watching the action unfold. The writing and dialogue are a little clunky in spots, but the story drew me in and I couldn't stop reading until I found out Simone and Toni's fate. I was impressed with how each piece of the story eventually came together to paint a horrifying picture of how and why Simone ended up like he did and why he makes the choices he makes. Wind-Up Toy bounces around a bit from Simone's childhood to the present, but the author did a great job of making the story flow well and never once did I confuse the past and present.
Overall, I think this is a great entry into the world of extreme horror and the more Hughes writes, the better he gets. I look forward to seeing what else his warped imagination comes up with.
This is a book of extreme horror. Please do not purchase if you are easily shocked or offended.
After ten years of marriage, Mike and Emilia's relationship falls apart after Emilia admits to having an affair - an affair with a man who gave her HIV. Once Mike finds out what she's done, he will go to any length to ensure she dies a slow, painful death, just like the one he's sure his wife has sentenced him to.
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