They Were Here Before Us

Bad Hand. Oct. 2022. 100p. ISBN 9798218015329. pap. $12. HORROR
Hot off of a Splatterpunk Award for his novella Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, LaRocca is back with another irresistible, captivating, and violent new book, featuring six separate tales, all united by how they portray the brutality that lies at the foundation of love. Beginning with a beetle, in love with the abandoned corpse who nourishes him and ending with a father and son tale of cosmic proportions, readers are introduced to a chimp, bird, meerkats, and a devoted lesbian couple along the way. LaRocca draws readers in, despite the intense unease and discomfort that begins immediately and only ratchets up exponentially with each sentence. An original voice, LaRocca delicately balances disgust and wonder on every page, presenting unorthodox tales that take readers to an unsettling place.
VERDICT LaRocca is selling his small press titles in larger press numbers, and this might be his best and most accessible work yet. It is a superior example of extreme horror, in the vein of the thought-provoking depravity of Agustina Bazterrica’s Tender Is the Flesh and Kathe Koja’s The Cipher.
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