Review – Extreme Horror Romance – Can it Work?

(Review by Persia Black – Literary Librarian)

There are many flavors of romance – thriller, suspense, historical, sweets and paranormal just to name a few. But can romance work in extreme horror?

In Carnival of Chaos and Festival of the Flesh , a two-part extreme horror novel series, the author Jim Goforth takes on this challenge.

The main focus of the two novels is clearly extreme horror, which is very successfully accomplished. The story is a real nail-biter, punctuated by several horrific and graphic moments that will make your skin crawl and give you nightmares for weeks to come. Yet, there is a strong romantic element (two stories actually, a larger story and a smaller story) threaded between the gore.

The romance factor was surprisingly strong and had more dimension and complexity than most stand-alone romances. I was particularly delighted at the originality, in fact.

Like most romantic thrillers, the suspense and action only helped to heighten the romantic tension. The romance, in turn, made the terror-factor even stronger because it helped me develop a connection with the characters, not only hoping they would survive another day but also that love would find a way.

I have to admit, I would have never put these two genres together, but now I can see how well they work toward a common goal: hooking the reader. As a non-extreme horror reader, I found myself unable to stop reading despite the many terror-filled moments, determined to find out how the two romances turned out. In both cases, the end was quite surprising (and satisfying) as were these books.

Overall, I give them both five-stars for originality and effectiveness.

Book Summaries:

Carnival of Chaos: Threatened, assaulted, and ultimately dismissed from their jobs, a group of disgruntled ex-carnival workers swear vengeance on the sinister new boss responsible for their state. Coercing even the most unwilling amongst them to join in on the revenge mission, the collective wait, biding their time before returning to the carnival grounds under cover of darkness. Plans for regaining lost property and enacting some simple retribution swiftly turn deadly when a series of grisly discoveries are made.

Now, having unwittingly involved themselves in something insidious and monstrous, this miscreant collective are being hunted by a relentless force. As more people are sucked into the maelstrom, innocent and nefarious alike, they’re all about to find themselves on an escalating nightmare journey into a brutal world of unimaginable pain and perversion.

Festival of the Flesh:

Hidden within a seemingly innocuous horror-themed carnival exists something far more disturbing. Where those with dollars and depraved desires find everything they seek catered for.

Hunted by mutant backwoods freaks, pursued relentlessly by the malevolent ringmaster who usurped their former boss, stranded in the deep woodland, and fast running out of options, the remaining few free ex-carnival employees are about to be forced into bloody battle that is only the beginning of a descent into sheer terror.

Having discovered the truth behind the carnival’s existence, these desperate souls know there is only one way to save any of their friends from becoming prized exhibits, and perverse playthings for the sick and bloodthirsty. They must gain entry and take part in the gruesome enterprise that lurks behind the garish trappings and faux horror extravagances of the carnival’s new and improved version.

Blood is going to pour like rain, to a symphony of screams. Bodies are going to stack up. The entertainment to be had here is enjoyed only by the most sadistic and degenerate of souls, and from all walks of life they come, from every corner of society, seeking to indulge their sickest, bloodiest impulses.

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