Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Book Review: Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea


OPEN YOUR EYES WITH “X-RAY” VISION!

Put on a pair of “X-Ray” glasses and things will never look the same! These almost magical specs will make you the hit of the party! Astonishing three-dimensional X-Ray visions of what your friends—and girls—look like under their clothes! And all for just $1.

THE MORE YOU WEAR THEM . . .

Martin Blackstone punishes his son for wasting his allowance on a pair of flimsy cardboard sunglasses X-ray vision . . . yeah, right. Martin tries them on just for the hell of it—and all they do is give him a headache . . .

. . . THE DEEPER YOU’LL SEE.

Until he sees things he can’t possibly be seeing. Glimpses of things on the other side of a wall or beneath someone’s clothing. He wants to believe it’s just his overactive imagination but the “X-Ray” specs actually work. Then the fun novelty becomes a waking nightmare when the glasses burn into his face and he starts seeing horrifying apocalyptic visions no mortal man was ever meant to see. Images that alter his very personality—from a husband and father to a bloodthirsty homicidal maniac . . .

Because sometimes you can see too much.


My Review: 
The biggest excitement in Marty's life is enjoying a beer while drooling at Jaclyn Smith in Charlie's Angels. He hates Jimmy Carter, work, limited beers midweek and noisy kids but loves Mork and Mindy. He leads an ordinary life until the day his son and his best friend buy cheap X Ray glasses from a mail order segment in a comic. When his son complains of headaches from the glasses, for fun, Marty tries them on-and is surprised to notice that he can see under a layer of his wife's clothing.

Marty is now keen to experiment to see exactly what the glasses do. It starts with spying on women in a bar to see their underwear and using his new skills to cheat in a card game. Then he decides to spy on the hottest woman in town as the glasses let him see right through all her clothes. With the pain getting worse and the glasses seeming to want to stay attached to his face, Marty is about to enter a living nightmare.

I love the concept of these Mail Order Massacre short stories. We've all seen some of the dodgy ads in the classified section of the magazines we read and I can remember laughing at how stupid some of them sounded. The thought that some of these crazy items might be real and dangerous is something I enjoyed the sound of when I first heard about this series. I remember seeing ads for X Ray specs in a magazine so I found this story interesting before I even read it. It was actually better than I expected it to be.

Marty is very much the anti-hero. He drinks too much, resents working for a living and isn't the greatest dad and husband in the world. Yes the fact that he was heading off to eye up other women with the glasses might not make him any more likable, but I did actually like his character. As things started to go wrong for him I did feel some sympathy for what he was going through. Other than Marty, there wasn't much in the way of character development but lets face it, we don't need that in a story that is about 70 pages long. There was enough to introduce you to Marty and his family and that was fine with me.

Since composing this review I've read the third and final Mail Order Massacres which was also very good, and I'm pleased to say that all three short stories are now available in omnibus form so if you like some horror fun, I recommend these stories.

Read December 2017
4 stars.

12 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed these. I think Just Add Water was my favorite overall but they were all pretty good. Poor Marty :(

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    1. I was surprised by the ending but very much enjoyed this one!

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    1. Three very good short horror stories!

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  3. Hunter Shea keeps moving up my To Read list. This story, especially, sounds like fun.

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    1. Anyone who likes horror needs to give the author a try-so many different monsters and beasts!

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  4. These were fun. Hunter sure can take something real and put his own creepy spin on it. LOL My favorite was the sea monkeys.

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    1. I think it was you who mentioned him first to me on this blog in a comment and I'm so glad you did! I love his work!

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  5. That cover! This sounds like a great short story. The x-ray glasses are something that I can remember seeing ads for when I was a kid. I will have to watch for this one. Great review!

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    1. I like that he has taken something from our childhood and went scary with it!

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  6. I love the premise for the stories! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

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