I read a book: Troll, by Matthew A. Clarke

The dedication reads “for anyone that’s been a victim of online abuse”. The first chapter describes a suicide encouraged by an online friend from a forum of other folks experiencing suicidal ideation and I just knew that this was gonna be another Clarke shaped wrinkle in my brain. I’ve read a few of his books now and each one is weird, horrifying, and heartfelt in its own way and after the first chapter, I had no doubt that Troll would leave its mark on me as well.

Scotty is an average teenage boy plagued by a mystery skin condition that he somehow manages to hide from his mother until it spreads to his face. He finds himself on a forum where just recently another young person interacted with a troll who encouraged her to follow through with her suicidal thoughts. He doesn’t know this yet, so he is receptive when he hits it off with a woman named Rebecca on the forum. When she blocks him after agreeing to meet in person, he goes on the offensive and uses his computer skills to hack into her webcam and find out who she really is.

He finds more than he bargained for and takes these findings to his friend Casper (and Ms Starchy) and this is where the story starts going down that bizarro rabbit hole. Scotty and friends discuss whether this troll is a Troll or just a sad sack on the internet. Scott learns about his father and eventually finds his purpose in life. And the troll…well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. It’s a short read, but it’ll stick with you. I like the way Clarke writes about real world things like incels or internet trolls in a bizarro horror light that still manages to weave in his brand of humor and heart. If you’re a fan of bizarro horror and aren’t reading Clarke’s work, why the heck not?

Big thanks to Matthew A. Clarke, Planet Bizarro Press, and Booksprout for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can buy Troll, by Matthew A. Clarke on Amazon for a couple bucks. And you should, because it’s great.

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