All Wound Up review by: Mandy Tyra
What a cracking collection, the saga of Simone comes full circle!
All 7 novellas and short stories in the whole Wind-Up Toyworld make up this immense book,
very aptly titled ~ All Wound Up.
I ordered a signed copy directly from David and got this beaut of a hardback complete with visually stunning dust jacket. It’s gorgeous!
I’ve always liked how he spells out the titles in childrens pastel colored alphabet blocks. Really amps up that creep factor.
Fun Fact: this was the first time in a reeeally long time I wasn’t reading from the kindle.
Ohhh to have something so big and hard in my hands once again, was quite rousing.
Ok so, I had already read the original Wind-Up Toy, Broken Plaything, and Chaos Rising and had posted very thorough praise filled reviews for them on various sites.
They are the 3 meatiest of the tales and have the most story and character development, the heart and soul, the hemmoraged guts of the beast, so to speak (…volumes).
The other 4 stories were all new to me and are pure rich and creamy ~ and quite noxious ~ gravy.
If you are new to the series, then I highly recommend starting with the original Wind-Up Toy, it sets the stage brilliantly and leaves you blood lusting for more.
You will absolutely LOVE this author’s wild and brazen, carefree style. As long as you are not a pansy or afflicted with delicate sensibilities, have an iron-clad stomach, and are blessed with a good dark sense of humor, then we’ll all get along just fine.
If you have read any of theses tales already then you already know that Simone is one sick and twisted motherfucking son of a bitch. Quite literally.
But the way he is written, with such depth, you almost feel compassion for him….in between the heaves. Hughes really jerks loose and shakes you to your moral core here and all that dark and inappropriate humor is so damn spot-on and you feel so damn guilty for laughing.
The first 2 in the collection are 2 that I hadn’t read yet, Happy Birthday Simone and Playtime Simone, where we delve back into his upbringing which is always horrific. It’s shocking, the psychological damage he grew up enduring. It was all normal to him and David’s unapologetically disturbing and no-holes-barred approach to writing Simone and Co. really sucks you in and chews you up.
In these shorts we get the introduction of some very familiar friends and are able to pin-point the moment of snap, his break from reality.
Bullies, bath time, and a two-way peep show also fill these distressing pages.
Plus we learn the origins of a certain Paddington Bear that plays a key role in a very disturbing flashback scene in the original. A shocking little moment that told me I was NOT reading your average extreme horror book.
It all kind of reads like some sort of indecent pop-up book of ‘count the childhood catalysts that contributed to the making of a maniac.’
Helpful Hint: Fingers and toes, and then some!! :O
For Into the Playpen, Simone reunites with the Flaying Flesh gals (from Broken Plaything) and relocates to America for a fresh start….or at the very least, a flesh start.
But things don’t exactly work out to his meticulous timed structured agenda though and he ends up cornering himself when he falls victim to his own lack of restraint. But not for long, a big surprise lurks in wait.
I found it very impressive how this story was written, it flowed so nicely going back and forth from past to present, slowly filling in the blanks, building up to a flat-out, stark-raving-rad finale!
BUT WAIT, that’s not all…..then we get the BONUS story, His Name Was Simone, written just for this collection and as a loving Thank You to all the WUT fans and Simone groupies out there. It was also the most surprising and outside-of-the-box story of the bunch.
The end-cap/night-cap/lights-out to the series.
Taking a different approach, and jumping into the future, David infused this pervy little tale with an engrossing non-fiction vibe as we meet a group of lascivious college kids. They are researching the legend of Simone, rumored to be the most sadistic of serial killers and Wales dirty little dead-and-buried secret …could it be more than mere legend, could it be true…
Reading and rereading Wind-Up Toy written by the elusive David Owain Hughes (yep), they become well-versed in the folklore. Downright obsessed with knowing all the sordid details, they visit Simone’s old house one Halloween and really get into character.
Those meddling kids!
“The author must have been a sick motherfucker.”
He’s so meta. David and Simone even share the same birthday; June 7th.
Coincidence….I doubt it…
A genius bookend to an excellent series and as much as I would love more Simone and friends, I hope this is the end….cause even he can’t top that!
After you read this bold and ballsy collection (and if you gots any spunk left), I dare you to commit yourself to White Walls and Straitjackets and it’s sequel, Escapees and Fevered Minds.
2 absolutely brilliant books with a 3rd in the works. In these he creates another boundless, lush and sleazy, world full of fascinating, full-bodied characters doing audacious things…in an oddly relatable way. That’s mainly due to the 6 foot depth he layers into all his players and games.
A lesser author would never be able to get away with such carnalistic chaos.
It’s second nature, par for the (…crass) course, for our David and it’s what makes THIS author a boner-fied Welshian Writer Savant who will be a household name one day. Seedy side of town, of course!
JEEZ, group this review with my other 3 and I reckon I’d have my own little novella.
A novella I’d be damn proud of too, because it’s caterwauling the praises of one of my very favorite writers today!
This was a really tricky review to write though and I’m sorry if it turned out a muddled mess.
I didn’t wanna repeat myself too much, and I’m just not savvy enough to incorporate all of them in this 1 review, aaand keep it concise and intelligible. I have many limitations, coherency is but one.