Review #144 // Dead Boys – Gabriel Squailia

Dead Boys

Despite having a rough time after dying, Jacob Campbell made a name for himself as one of Dead City’s top preservationists. Determined to return to the world of the living, however, Jacob sets out on a journey to discover how the Living Man of legend made it into the Underworld unscathed.

Why this book?: I learned about Gabriel Squailia through a friend, and of his two books I had, this one called to me. It just seemed interesting, a new idea I hadn’t yet read.

Dead Boys is a novel that defies genres, and is so hard to label that I find myself struggling on how to speak of this one. With a book like Dead Boys, it’s hard to decide what was on purpose, and what wasn’t meant to be, as well as how you’re supposed to react to it. That might be hard to understand, but listen to this. I have never found a book that has so casually ripped off a person’s penis, and went onto the next scene as if nothing serious had happened.

I’m completely serious right now.

That actually happened in this book, so it’s obvious to say that if you’re not comfortable with heavy gore, do not read this book. In fact, from what I’ve heard about Squailia’s other novel, Viscera, you wouldn’t want to read that one either. However, it isn’t framed as if it’s “heavy gore”, but more like it’s an every day event just as normal as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. It gets weird, it gets gross, but it’s enthralling. So be prepared for that before going in. I went in looking for that, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.

As much as this book was interesting to me, I must say that it took me a long time to make it through this book. Partially because I was in a bad slump, but also because the story dragged like hell. It was entertaining, but if nothing was moving the story along, it became stagnant, almost hard to read.

And then there was the mixing of two plots, and it just got confusing. I understood how one plot got in the way of the other, and how they complemented each other, but god make a decision. I loved one plot for it’s action and in-depth look into Dead City’s politics, and the other one for it’s ingenuity, but I just couldn’t get comfortable how one plot was solely action and the other was solely traveling.

Final Rating: ★★★½☆☆


I loved this book for it’s inability to conform, but I hated it for the inability to mix the plotlines well. I do have to admit that the ending of one of the plotlines had me laughing really hard, because, really, that’s what this book seemed to be made to do: make you laugh at the grossest of things.

Would I Recommend?

Only to those who can handle it. I feel like the plots are just a hoop to jump through, something to get used to, but it’s all worth it for that morbid humor. 

Trigger warning for mention of off-page suicide, discussion of suicide, depression, heavy gore, brief description of off-page suicide, abuse mentions, death, lots of death, and lots of gore.

Dead Boys

Additional Information:

Published: March 3rd, 2015

Publisher: Talos Press

Page Count: 278

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Synopsis: via Goodreads

A decade dead, Jacob Campbell is a preservationist, providing a kind of taxidermy to keep his clients looking lifelike for as long as the forces of entropy will allow. But in the Land of the Dead, where the currency is time itself and there is little for corpses to do but drink, thieve, and gamble eternity away, Jacob abandons his home and his fortune for an opportunity to meet the man who cheated the rules of life and death entirely.

According to legend, the Living Man is the only adventurer to ever cross into the underworld without dying first. It’s rumored he met his end somewhere in the labyrinth of pubs beneath Dead City’s streets, disappearing without a trace. Now Jacob’s vow to find the Living Man and follow him back to the land of the living sends him on a perilous journey through an underworld where the only certainty is decay.

Accompanying him are the boy Remington, an innocent with mysterious powers over the bones of the dead, and the hanged man Leopold l’Eclair, a flamboyant rogue whose criminal ambitions spark the undesired attention of the shadowy ruler known as the Magnate.

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