What the Hell Did I Just Read is the third installment in the hallucinatory John Dies in the End series by David Wong. For fans, that’s all they need to know.

Describing the plot of a John and David novel is an impossible task, but let me try. John and David are asked to help look for a kidnapped child, Maggie, who was kidnapped from a locked room in eerie circumstances that make it otherworldly, the John and David specialty. Toss in an Iraq War vet bent on revenge, a biker gang, the mysterious super-powered international organization, a BATMANTIS??, and a biblically-long rainstorm slowly inundating the town of Undisclosed, and you get an idea of maybe fifteen percent of the story.

What the Hell Did I Just Read is hilarifying. I know that is not a real word, but it should be because no other single word can describe this book. The strongest characteristic is its absurdist humor. It’s a madcap existential adventure with supernatural or otherworldly beasties.

I think David Wong’s books would be stronger if there were some ebb and flow, some shift in mood and pace. The headlong hilarification is tiring. I have to pace myself by reading other things because I can only take so much in one gulp. Nonetheless, I find myself laughing and appreciating the inventive story. I also love the incredible metaphors that you will never find anywhere else. The book opens with one so brilliant I think I read it twenty times before moving on to the second sentence. “It rained like we were a splatter of bird shit God was trying to hose off his deck.” Does it get better than that?

What the Hell Did I Just Read will be published on October 3rd. I received an advance e-galley from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley.

John Dies at the End Series

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