Cruel Devices by George Wright Padgett ~ 2014

What makes good horror?
Maybe some words should remain un-typed

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press
Published: November 30th 2014
Pages: 178
ISBN:  978-1-9388216-6-6
Language: English
Text: © 2014 George Wright Padgett
Illustrations: © 2014 George Wright Padgett
Design: Grey Gecko Press

"This book was provided by Grey Gecko Press in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

5 Stars

George Wright Padgett
Looking for a great read for the weekend? Cruel Devices is a mesmeric page-turner read for all psychological thrill seekers.
George Padgett took me onto a fast paced journey with world renowned horror writer Gavin Curtis and as the story moved along, I was hoping Gavin would end up getting the short end. This self-centered, arrogant, son-of-a ... gun had an air about him that had me looking for specials on air-freshener. Gavin carried himself with the attitude of since he was famous and rich, he was 'above' other folks throughout the story.

The story opens up with Gavin on a book signing tour at the book store Buy-the-Book and he's in a sour mood about having to go on these tours. As he signs his autograph onto his latest novel Blood Clot of his vampire detective Damien Marksman series to his dedicated fans his publicist, ex-wife Josephine Garner, is on the phone with him explaining to him that he needs to get a birthday present. A birthday present for retired 75 year-old editor and dear friend Billy Cavanaugh. Through gritting teeth, fake smiles and seeing a long line ahead of him he was relieved when all of a sudden the over head sprinkler system erupted. No fire no smoke, but, while book store owner Mr. Hastings busied himself trying to cover as many books as possible to save his inventory, the crowd had dispersed into the parking lot. Gavin calmly walked out with his sports jacket over his head and stood aloof from the crowd.

He's tired of these book signing tours and burned out from his Damien Marksman series and needs something fresh to spark him again. He wants a cigarette, even though he had quit.

On the curb next to him was a young muscular, black man wearing a Buy-the-Book apron. After explaining to Gavin that his regular store is store #719 and he was there to only help out with the extra business because of the book signing, he notices the crowd had started to come closer to Gavin. Gavin wanted a break from the crowd and the clerk had suggested to hide back behind the store in the alley and would come to get him after the crowd dissipates. Gavin agreed to the idea. He bums a cigarette and heads off toward the alley.

Waiting for the clerk to arrive, which never happened, Gavin had exited the alley onto a street looking for a light for the cigarette he got from the store clerk. This part here threw me - he walked 9 miles before ending up in front of an antique shop. Why didn't he jump into his rental car to get away from the crowd? and assuredly the car would have had a cigarette lighter.

After some events that kept me turning the pages, he had acquired a typewriter from the antique shop that actually was not for sale according to the proprietor Madame Kovacs.

Once back in his suite in room #719 at the Droverton Convention Center Resort and after a hot shower he marveled at this typewriter. He found the birthday present; Billy Cavanaugh is gonna love this old thing. Inspired, Gavin reached for his cell phone and dialed Billy’s number.  "...Okay let's test this baby out."He dictated as he typed, on every letter, the device’s tiny hammer against the paper made a hard cracking sound,  “’The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.’” Leaning forward to view his work, he got - TYE QUI3K BUOWN FGX JUMMS OVEU TYE LA1Y DOG. He tried again -  “’The five boxing wizards jump quickly.’” He viewed the faulty result: DHE FEVE BOXISG WEZARTS JUMM QUECKLY.  After Billy gets on the phone the two of them have some fun with pangrams. All have faulty results from the typewriter. Although Gavin does not mention that the typewriter is Billy's birthday present he does hear in the background noise in which Gavin explains it's construction going on. Billy adds: "Try, "Question: Just what unexpected horrors befall a very crazy Mr. Gavin Curtis?" After Gavin types it is error free.

After the conversation with Billy, Gavin eventually ended up at the lounge in the resort and then retired for the evening. Had a nightmare, woke and found the typewriter had wrote a coherent novel. The writing was sublime. He thought - Gavin Curtis is back.

Searching the T.V. for the final score of the game he was watching before passing out for the evening a news segment came on - "Local resident, Misa Kawaguchi, abducted near Pier 719, bound to support column until drowned." It was the same story Gavin had just finished reading.

The typewriter is a conduit for an evil that is coming through to the present from the other side. This is not a spoiler. Throughout the story Gavin and this typewriter become bound in a way that seems there is no way to be detached from each other. The events that take place with Gavin and this typewriter are paranormal at its finest. The descriptive scenes of inside his suite are picture perfect.
After learning the history of the resort he is in and it's past murders he wonders if Josephine had purposely reserved this tour stop in order to break his writers-block-rut he is fighting with. Especially being booked into room #719.

George Padgett has a novel that is quickly paced but not rushed. His characters were developed with their own personality and voice. It is a read that makes you turn the pages and wanting, no, needing to know what comes next.

The ending is a crescendo into a sadness ... maybe. You gotta read this if you seek psychological thrills and chills. An excellent read.

Most recommended folks ~ it was absolutely delicious

Cruel Devices

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