Author: Robert E. Dunn
Publication Date: May 11, 2016
I received a copy from the author through the publisher, Necro Publications, for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Running from a night of humiliation and murder, Johnny Burris leaves his home in an urban junkyard fleeing into the Ozarks countryside. While he flees, mysterious streaks of blue light in the night sky drive him into a bit of nowhere lost in the hills. Johnny thinks he’s found home and good work in an odd little gas station from another time. The station isn’t the only thing strange and Johnny quickly gets pulled into a world where the cars aren’t the only things all chromed out and everything seems touched with a little of the flying blue streaks that led Johnny there.
Enticed and torn between two sisters, one an outcast for her normality, Johnny becomes the pawn of their father. The old doctor is looking for a replacement and Johnny Burris is the man with just the right skills.
But Johnny doesn’t want anything to do with the doctor’s plans so he runs, taking one of the sisters with him. But the people, and the girl, turn out to be even more than he imagined. And his whole world becomes the one choice, live as a monster, making monsters or die like a man. If he chooses to die, who will he take with him?
What an original, impressively imaginative, quirky, weird tale! I fell in love with the cover and the premise and I’m glad to say this wasn’t just a pretty cover.
We follow the main protagonist, Johnny Burris, a bit of an introvert and unexperienced in the relationship with the opposite sex, but a master mechanic. Although he is the ‘good guy’ in this tale, he is far from good having committed double murder and is on the run from the long arm of the law. He ends up in the middle of Nowhere at a gas station run by the Doctor, a sort of modern-day Dr Frankenstein, and his daughters , one normal and one being of the ‘Damaged People’ mechanically augmented folks. Johnny is feeling lucky after being offered a job doing what he does best, fixing cars. But what is their real agenda, this doctor and this two daughters? What is the blue goo that Johnny keeps seeing and how does it all tie in to this strange community of ‘Damaged People”?
The characters are ones that you can’t help but empathise with even though they all seem to have really dark sides. After all our protagonist has two murders on his conscience before his arrival in Nowhere, and he’s the good guy! The sisters are manipulative and play Johnny like a fiddle, each with their own agenda and still I couldn’t help but sympathise with them both especially with the events leading up to end. Ouch!
The plot moves along at the pace of one of these muscle cars populating this weird tale. The story is brought to life with the author’s vivid descriptions, clever, realistic and snappy dialogue and the emotions he manages to evoke through his masterful prose and well-crafted, memorable characters with their various idiosyncracies.
Although being a quick read, there are some pretty creative and cool elements and I especially loved the mixture of techno-thriller with body horror and a touch of the supernatural. Car buff or not, I thought the incorporation of muscle cars and other cool cars was sheer genius. Seriously! I could visualise quite easily the people with machine parts; creepy but intriguing. I thought these machine-augmented people had a weird kind of appeal. The author certainly has an untethered imagination which he lets loose in Motorman. There is some mystery surrounding the blue goo and the reader is left to drawn his/ her own conclusion as to its origin which I didn’t mind. I could easily have read another 200 pages and was disappointed it had come to an end.
Entertaining, engaging, imaginative and at times amusing, Motorman is a fun novella sure to appeal to those looking for a horror with elements of a supernatural techno-thriller. I really loved this turbo-charged, crazy-weird world, and was sad to leave it behind.
About The Author
Robert E. Dunn grew up in the Missouri Ozarks reading everything he could get his hands on. After college, a course of study that included philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out he turned to writing horror and fantasy fiction. He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.