Cover of "PILATE: A Brutal Bible Tale"

Cover of PILATE: A Brutal Bible Tale

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 5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful step forward in Rage’s career, October 30, 2009
By Matthew Revert (Melbourne, Australia) – This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

To be honest, Steven Rage’s first book, “Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale“, only half-worked for me. There was certainly a compelling tale to be told but you had to cut through the style to get there. I accept that I may be in the minority here but that was my initial reaction. After the “adjustment period”, if you want to call it that, Pilate really opened up and revealed a wealth on nearly realised potential. Rage was tantilisingly close to writing a great book. Flash forward a few years and an unsuspecting literary world is handed Rage’s next book, You Morbid Westphal. Set in a hospital, the title of the book is derived from the three main characters. Born fully formed from a rather unpleasant orifice is Morbid. His game is to stalk the hospital wings and violently (very violently!) dispatching helpless patients. Next we have Westphal. He works nights at the hospital trying to support, what some my call, a rather dysfunctional family. With Morbid reeking havoc in this very unfortunate hospital, the one thing Westphal doesn’t need is to be blamed for Morbid’s actions. It would do his job no good. The “You” in this book’s title literally refers to “you”. You are a dying patient who wants to die as peacefully as possible. There are elements at work that want to prevent this from occurring. From the description above, you could be forgiven for assuming this is going to be a rather confusing story. I’ll allay your fears right from start and assure you that Rage waves this tale brilliantly. The details of the story are lucid and feverishly entertaining. The hyper violence is contextualised in such a way as to avoid gratuitousness. The book is brief, clocking in at just under 140 pages, which gives You Morbid Westphal and element of frenzy. In this format everything works. It’s hard to imagine the tone sustaining over a longer period. You Morbid Westphal is very highly recommended and a real treat for anyone who enjoys their fiction warped to breaking point and smeared in blood. Rage has applied all the lessons he learned with Pilate and written that great book!

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4.0 out of 5 stars An Unholy Trinity, December 29, 2009
By Todd A. Fonseca (Minneapolis, MN) – This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

 
You live your final days lying in a hospital bed, unable to move or take of yourself while gritting through constant pain waiting for the madness to end. Unfortunately, your heinous deeds during life are coming full circle and sweet death continues to be stayed by the demons that torture you keeping you just this side of the living. One such demon, Morbid, spawned from you through some unholy means dispatches other hospital patients in gruesome fashion. Meanwhile, a male nurse named Westphal makes his way through life looking to make just enough money to score his next drug buy and take care of his ghost stepfather and pet unborn fetus. This is harbor hospital, and this is the end of your life. Rage’s sophomore novel You Morbid Westphal takes place in the harbor similar to his first novel PILATE: A Brutal Bible Tale. All of the graphic, disturbing and gruesome imagery Rage demonstrated his prowess at in the first book return in this offering. However, in this chapter, these elements seem a less gratuitous, a little more muted, and more securely woven into the fabric of a very disturbing tale. This novel is not for the faint of heart and is extreme in all ways imaginable – really, I’m not kidding. None-the-less, Rage is incredibly creative and talented. It’s hard to fathom what hell might be like – unspeakable pain and agony – perhaps. But I think Rage paints a picture that drives home the concept of a living hell one must suffer due to their heinous choices in life. If the real thing is anything like this, one can only hope and pray for redemption and salvation. Rage parallels some biblical themes once again, though in an unholy bizarro fashion and throws in a twist at the end reminiscent of the 1987 movie Angel Heart [Blu-ray] starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. For those who enjoyed Pilate – you will find an even better book in Westphal.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and scary, June 20, 2010
By Ray Dittmeier (Louisville, KY) –
(REAL NAME) Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

 This is a short book; you could read it in a single sitting, as I did–twice. Even so, Reverend Rage somehow manages to give us a story that has the scope of a full-blown novel without skimping anywhere. It’s fascinating, scary, out-and-out repulsive at times, and even amusing in a few places. (I love Sammy, the crusty old ghost-dad who lives with Westphal.) The book tells an intricate story, dark and gritty and bizarre–I don’t know if Rage claims them as influences, but it makes me think of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick collaborating on a horror novel–set in a world of drug dealers, prostitutes, porn producers and otherworldly beings. This world, as well as the story, is well-realized and full of the kind of detail that makes it feel authentic. Everything is extremely vivid. Westphal, the central character, is a drug-addicted loser who’s just one screw-up away from losing his job at a hospital, and who finds he’s gotten in over his head with his drug dealer. In fact, I would imagine most of us know, or have known, at least one Westphal in real life. There’s much more to it than that, but talking more about the various threads and themes in the story would be running the risk of giving away spoilers. Suffice to say it’s a story full of imagination and weirdness, a story that invites you to give a little thought to what it takes to maintain some control over your life, and to take a look at your capacity for good and evil.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Reverend Rage Hath Come, May 5, 2010
By Kevin Shamel (Pacific Northwest) –
(REAL NAME) This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

Do you like to read a book where you’re a character in it and you really sorta wish you weren’t (but you still totally love that you are)? Do you like reading books that take you out of this world and into the weird, amazing, thoughtful world the author has ready? You won’t find a more twisted, delicious, dark, and unique tale of the ups, downs, and insides of dying in some sort of peace than You Morbid Westphal. This is about angels, demons, and the fight for your soul. It’s about people. Rage tells this story through obvious experience and thoughtful reflection on the world around him. He delivers a refined view of violence and gore, a bright shining bit of love and hope in the gristle and guts of death. He tells a frightening, gripping, original story that will suck you straight in, like it or not. And I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. It’s gritty, and realistically crazy. It’s gross in just the right amounts. The story is so eloquently presented that you’re straight in it for the whole nail-biting ride. I’d say it’s masterful. Dark, beautiful, bizarro, and insightful–The Reverend does brilliantly. I’m an instant fan of Steven Rage. I can’t wait to read more.

4.0 out of 5 stars Fuel yourself with RAGE, February 16, 2010
By David W Barbee (Georgia, USA) – This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

 
Reading this book, you get the impression that Steven Rage is actually a really nice guy. You feel like he’s a guy with whom you can share a nice brewski and watch some kind of sports on TV. But beware, because underneath the everyman persona, Steven Rage is one sick man. The evidence of his twisted mind is You Morbid Westphal, a brutal noir tale of drugs and demons. Steven Rage shows us the life of Westphal, a male nurse who works twelve hour shifts and gets most of his nutrients from hard drugs. Westphal lives in a dillapidated apartment with his ghost stepdad and a pet fetus, the most economical companion of all. Through the story we get to see Westphal move about in the desolate town of Harbor, having casual run-ins with demons and drug dealers. Westphal’s life sucks, but it’s actually WAY worse than he thinks. If you’re a fan of dark and brutal stories, I definitely recommend Rage’s work. The narration is raw and blunt, but he’s created very interesting characters to populate this dark and moody world. It never comes off as “shocking for the sake of being shocking.” You Morbid Westphal is a fast-paced tale that winds itself up and releases with a deadly and violent twist ending. If you think you’ve got the stomach to see the brutal blackness squirming around in Steven Rage’s mind, give this a read. After all, he’s a very nice guy in real life.

4.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully warped, divinely demented, December 3, 2009
By D. Gorman “Crystalline Structure Moon” – See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

when it comes to the grotesque and bizarre, rage thinks outside the pine box (casket, that is). this is a short but tasty little treat for those who like their literature to run on the sick and twisted side. as with his book about pilate, rage combines a knowledge of modern street/drug culture and slang with an intelligent wit and a lyrical sense of prose. although written in prose, it has a certain poetic flow that maintains the sick depravity you expect to see in rage’s work. it’s short, but complete unto itself. it doesn’t need to be any longer than it is…and it almost comes off as reading like a morbid, morose, sick, demented, profane version of The Iliad and The Odyssey (in form, not in content). and it really is worth reading…if you like this kind of sick stuff, which I do. as i said, it’s not just gross…there’s an intelligence and a worthy writing style in rage’s work. it’s hard to explain. all i can say is: if i were ever to be reincarnated as another charlie manson, i would definitely want steven rage in my family. this is an inventive story of woe and regret and sex and things crawling out of notoriously uncomfortable body orafices that is not to be missed. if you like the demented and bizarre, give this short but tasty little number a try. it’s like chicken eyeball soup with entrails for your shriveled, rancid soul.

5.0 out of 5 stars Steven Rage hits his stride and finds a home, December 1, 2009
By ellen “ellen in atlanta” (Atlanta, Georgia USA) – See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 1000 REVIEWER) This review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

When you read this book, you may need to take a few hits of Plata or Valium to get through, or not, and experience the entire book, page by page, as Steven Rage intended it – to scare, to upset, and to start and keep you thinking.
There is a large ripple in the Evil Nerd Empire printing company universe. Steven Rage has found a home and a place for him to write to his heart’s content and has a built in audience of horror readers who will want for more. Bravo that he’s found a home for his readership – Steven Rage is a brilliant writer in his genre. Is a Steven Rage book for the ordinary reader??? No way. Every page is not for the faint of heart. It deals with lots of drugs, dead people, aborted fetuses, and someone like Westphal who works in a nursing facility and literary ‘has his way’ with the patients.
In order for more drugs, he appears in a ‘porn’ flick that is uneasy to read as it was for Westphal to participate in. Is this and other Steven Rage works for everyone? No. That is why I tell you I know the brilliance of the man, been a fellow writer in the first Shameless Shorts Short Story Anthology, and read his book PILATE on Harborside’s modern version of Pontius Pilate and Jesus – brilliant, but violent, as the story was. He is talented and his audience is specific – one who understands that Mr. Rage pulls no punches, nor cushions any situations – it is what it is. You Morbid Westfal is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for afficianados of the morbid, and horror, The Evil Nerd Empire Publishing has opened its arms and given Mr.Rage a forum for his talents, which are formidable. I look forward to more from Steven Rage.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Brtual, November 28, 2009
By Garrett Cook “Bizarro Pulp Writer” (Warrenville, IL) – See all my reviewsThis review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

You Morbid Westphal is not a book for the faint of heart. Do not give this to your ten year old. Do not try to teach it in seventh grade English. Do not read it if you don’t want to be disturbed and excited. There are plenty of mildly horrific titles out there for those of you who think hot water is better than espresso or milk is better than whiskey. You Morbid Westphal explores a nasty situation in the life of a man who is surrounded by sickness and death and eager to escape the pain. It’s a brutal indictment of drug addiction, healthcare practices and American decadence that is sure to leave you squirming. But if you’re up for some of the hard stuff, you’ll dig this.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Like early Tom Piccirilli mixed with Edward Lee, November 10, 2009
By Jordan Krall “fan of bizarro, horror, noir, a… (Noir Jersey, USA) – See all my reviewsThis review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

I read and liked this author’s first book PILATE. It was an impressive debut. But when I got this one, his second, I knew I had to expect more from Steven Rage. When reading novels, I always expect more from later books (and therefore am a little tougher when reviewing them) and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I was far from disappointed with this book. Like another reviewer said, Rage’s first book, the style often got in the way of the story. With YOU MORBID WESTPHAL, Rage made sure to cut things down to the bone and tell the story more directly while still keeping his unique voice. The plot sort of reminds me of early Tom Piccirilli horror novels. There’s a certain ambiguous occultism involved that’s very intriguing. There is also some hardcore grossness that is also reminiscent of Edward Lee. Not to say that Rage has imitated them, I just get that feeling from this book…..which is a good thing. My only criticism is the length. If this is the first in a series of books, then the criticism is negated. But if it’s a standalone, I’m just a little bit disappointed in not finding out more about some of the minor characters. They are all so interesting. Also, the ending is good and wraps everything up but I was hoping for something a bit less traditional. It still worked well and was a satisfying ending. The setup of the book was unique, with each chapter being from a different point of view (You, Morbid, & Westphal). It might confuse people at first but then you get into it and it flows nicely. Overall, this is an improvement over Rage’s last book and is worth a read if you like bizarre horror novels. Get on the Rage train while you can because I have a feeling that he’ll be getting bigger and bigger with each new book.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars All the Rage – You Morbid Westphal, November 3, 2009
By Eric Mays “Bizarro Author of “Naked Metam… (Richmond, VA) – See all my reviewsThis review is from: You Morbid Westphal (Paperback)

The concept of “You Morbid Westphal” shouldn’t have worked at all! There’s no way it was supposed to. I’ve seen some experimental fiction like this before and watched as it plummeted into the abyss face-first leaving irate readers in its wake. This is supposed to be that sort of book…
…but it succeeds…beautifully.
For starters, the title You Morbid Westphal is setting up the three main characters. You…as in you…yes, you, Morbid, a malicious little beastie, and Westphal, who’s just trying to get through the graveyard shift at the hospital you’re in. These are the three main characters and they share the piece in circular stories. The “you” portions of the book read like a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” book…placing you right in the action. You’re responsible for birthing Morbid. You’re not going to have a very good night. You’re experiencing it as it unfolds. This style is not my typical fare, but I was captivated by it. I loved seeing what havoc was unfurling around my world. Meanwhile you get the other two stories (obviously connected). One follows Morbid as he indulges his macabre whims and the coke-addled Westphal. Should you find yourself in a hospital, pray it isn’t this one. In fact, I’m not above the cliché…I’ll say it: You Morbid Westphal does for hospitals what Jaws did for beach getaways! Steven Rage is a masterful storyteller. He weaves a world that his painted in black and white hues, where anything can happen (and often does), and his brutally visceral. I realize that this is a horror tale…I guess you could call it that. It’s got more emotion than your typical horror fare. I felt the emotional rollercoaster travel from repulsed to humored to moved and back again. And the end…well, I’m not the one to spill the beans, but rest assured, you’ll not know what is in store for “You” until you reach the final pages. My biggest complaint with the book was the length. I craved more, which is a wonderful thing, and wanted to see more of the story fleshed out. I make no bones about it…I’m a longer fiction type person. But I never dismiss a solid story, and this was certainly that. The fact that I wanted more should attest to the quality. Too, at first I was a little confused with the circular-style storytelling. It’s a three ring circus…not a crazy train that has too many clashing storylines…but in the beginning it is a little confusing.** Please keep reading, though. In the end it’s worth it all and Steven Rage does bring it together nicely. If you like your horror visceral pick this up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Monster Librarian Digs RAGE ... so should YOU!

   You Morbid Westphal by Steven Rage, reviewed by ‘The Monster Librarian’

YOU. Yes, “you”… are a poor soul in the hospital on your last legs. And as it is, you’ve “given birth” to one of the most horrible “people” ever possible…MORBID. Born from “your” rectum, Morbid dispatches many other patients in the hospital in extremely horrendous and painful ways. However, the main suspect of these murders isn’t Morbid, but instead… WESTPHAL. Living with his ghost step-dad, Sammy, and his pet aborted fetus, Chip, Westphal works as a night shift nurse, getting stuck with all of the worst patients. All those that no one else wants to fool with. Just to get through the day, Westphal has to dope himself up with the strongest narcotics possible and that doesn’t always help make things easier. These three characters, as well as a host of other interesting “people” make up Steven Rage’s You Morbid Westphal. Both the characters and story format are unique- Rage has created a one-of-a-kind voice with this novella, which has enough story to fill a full-length book. A large chunk of the story follows Westphal day-to-day as he suffers through many horrendous tasks at work, in his dreams, and even just trying to obtain more drugs along the way. As soon as I read the final chapters of this book I was ready to re-read it. I ended up waiting a few months before doing just that, but after a second read, I would be more than happy to do so yet again… and again… and again… You Morbid Westphal is one of those novellas that never get tiresome, as you pick up something different with each read through. You Morbid Westphal is not for the faint of heart, as it is full of numerous crude scenes that Rage describes in graphic detail. For many seasoned horror/bizarro readers, this will be a plus, but for those that can’t handle things over the top, beware! Highly recommended!
Contains: Adult language, Adult Situations, Sex, Rape, Violence, Gore, Heavy Drug Use
Review by Rhonda Wilson

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