The Horror Zine
The Horror Zine Review
Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Paperback: 345 pages
Publisher: Bloody Books
Language: English
ISBN: 13:978-1-905636-15-0
Kindle E-book: 2010 ASIN B004BJ26IU



by Joseph D'Lacey

Review by Geoff Nelder, co-editor of Escape Velocity Magazine

This book isn’t for the timid, and if you are, take your antacid medication before settling down to read one of the few books that might change your life. To a vegetarian, the title might put you off; if you eat meat, you may be afraid of being lectured. Neither is the case. I’m vegan and didn’t think anything about slaughterhouses or animal empathy could shock me, but I am dazed. Meat doesn’t set out with a philosophical agenda, it is a well-plotted story, with plenty of action, characters, a post-apocalyptic setting and several threads.

It is difficult to summarise the plot without giving away surprises, but it is based in a future where traditional food sources have disappeared. Harry Harrison’s novel, which became the cult film, Soylent Green is for pussy cats compared to Meat.

I confess that I didn’t initially like the short sections as the story unfolded from the point-of-view of several main characters, but with the pace so rapidly page-turning it isn’t a serious complaint. Indeed, there are some fine literary moments inside the narrative. D’Lacey cleverly forces characters to not just step back to contemplate their actions and consequences, but to somehow reach inside, and then outside their psyche in a way I’ve not met in other novels. For example, speaking of that elusive spark in someone’s eyes, but then when they die: ‘how could you not wonder where that light went?’

I hate Joseph D’Lacey because he’s created phrases I’d wish I’d written. For example, we’ve all been to a works’ dance where: ‘The music had a stretched, laboured sound to it, but it made the workers jump and twitch nevertheless.’ He has a gift for inverting concepts that is envious. Savour this example:
‘She stopped moving and listened hard. The silence was alive: like someone downstairs was listening for her, not the other way around.’

Writers spend hours seeking alternative ways to Show not Tell. In particular horror writers try to avoid the overused knots in stomachs and clichéd tingles up and down spines. For a treasure trove of alternatives read Joseph D’Lacey’s Meat. There are few writers that can follow the Point of View of a character into his doom with gutsy conviction. This quote follows a man who knows he is going to die horribly, but not yet:

‘It had all happened so quickly that he couldn’t make space for it in his mind. And yet, his body knew what was coming. It was preparing. He felt the cold in his feet and hands as his blood flow restricted itself to his core. His face felt cold and wet and there was a torsion of the muscles in his stomach.... Uppermost in his mind was the knowledge that this was a room where he would not die.’

I am impressed that the end isn’t easy to predict even though there is no plot dependency on a twist. Let’s say that in my animal activist days, I nearly achieved in practice on the odd livestock farm, and still dream about what this book achieves with a whole futuristic town. This gutsy ambush is delivered cleverly, but not without gallons of gory blood, sometimes friendly blood.

Meat is horror, gruesome, and it has a message, whether or not you accept it. It is compelling reading, and it will haunt me forever.

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder






You can buy Meat HERE.

About the Author

Joseph D'Lacey

Joseph D'Lacey

Joseph D'Lacey is the Author of Meat and Garbage Man - Eco-Horror published by Bloody Books - and post-apocalyptic survival novella, The Kill Crew. Meat has been translated into German, French, Hungarian, Russian and Turkish and was optioned for film in 2008. Meat also secured him the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 2009.

Joseph's fiction has appeared in small presses, magazines, print anthologies and online. He co-curates where he blogs about Horror and interviews today's creators of the genre. He lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and daughter.

About the Reviewer

Geoff Nelder

Geoff Nelder

Geoff Nelder has one wife, two grown-up kids, and lives in rural England within easy cycle ride of the Welsh mountains.

His publications include: One humorous thriller Escaping Reality in 2005. One award-winning science fiction, Exit, Pursued by a Bee in 2008. Another thriller, Hot Air, was published in 2009 after receiving an award from an Arts Academy in the Netherlands.

A science fiction trilogy, Left Luggage with an original premise is in the hands of the Rebecca Pratt Literary Agency, along with a fantasy, Xaghra’s Revenge.

Having had around 50 short stories published, Geoff was chosen to be the short fiction judge for the Whittaker Prize, 2009.

Geoff is an editor at Adventure Books of Seattle, and he is a co-editor of science fiction magazine, Escape Velocity.

Feel free to visit Geoff’s website HERE.