Review Corner: The Good, the Bad, and the Sadistic by Jon Athan

The Good, the Bad, and the Sadistic by Jon Athan

Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner

I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting and it had a warning that it contained graphic and potentially upsetting violence. Just my bag, baby.

However, this book was very disappointing.

Clayton and his lady, Chastity are two psychos on the loose. Their lust for killing has made them household names all across America with the cops always one step behind their murderous exploits. But whenever they go to a motel, a bar, a diner, a gas station etc, no one recognises them! I thought they were supposed to be famous?

In order to stop them, a vengeance-hungry cop enlists help from one of his guys at the maximum security prison. The plan is simple; let out another convicted and sadistic killer, Sam Lee to hunt the two down and torture them, let them get a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.

This could have really worked, but the whole thing seemed so unrealistic it got a little annoying. The cops could never find the two killers before they’d left a bloodbath behind, but as soon as they recruit the even more-psycho torturing badass, they manage to deliver him straight into the alley where the couple are carrying out another one of their killings. It was perfect timing and felt kind of forced.

But not only was this dude a vicious murder, he seemed to be pretty handy in a fight, too, not something I’d expect from an emotionless psychopath who delights in slow, torturous deaths. There were multiple fight scenes where Clayton and Chas got their asses kicked, but each one, perhaps more bloody than the last, didn’t really add anything to the story.

The warning in the blurb was quite specific; violence against children, which of course is something extremely horrific. But the book didn’t set any of these up enough for them to be truly shocking. A kid is introduced, doing kid things, and then a couple of pages later they’re dead. You know the movie Funny Games when the kid dies? That was horrible. But here, it’s more like a tactic to try and horrify.

On the positive side, this book is action-packed, with downtime and backstories left to the bare minimum, although at times a few of these would have really added to the punches that were soon to follow. The gore is nicely presented and real, but nothing that original. Although there was one particular injury sustained by Clayton that made me wince; and the effects of this add a touch of comedy to the tale.

The dialogue seemed a little unrealistic, and although these two had suffered pretty debilitating injuries, they managed to carry on their killing spree with just a few ‘ow’s thrown in for good measure. I know you’re supposed to suspend disbelief but I struggled to.

I also didn’t feel the need for every character to have their clothes described to me; to do it American Psycho style would have been great, but ‘white vest, black jeans, and black shoes’ could have been left to my imagination.

I feel like I’m knocking this book quite a lot, perhaps it’s because I’d gone into it with such high expectations; it’s certainly got a lot of high praise on Goodreads and Amazon. But I’m sorry to say this really didn’t do it for me.

You can take my word for it or you can check it out for yourself as it’s Available Now.


About Morgan K. Tanner

Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.

When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.

You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666.

His debut novella, An Army of Skin is available now.