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Review: Brand New Cherry Flavor (Re-release) by Todd Grimson

Review: Brand New Cherry Flavor (Re-release) by Todd Grimson

by The CaptainOctober 6, 2011

Brand New Cherry Flavor by Todd Grimson

Lisa Nova has a problem.  She’s recently found out the guy that she’s been sleeping with to advance her career has totally gone back on his side of the bargain of tradin’ tail for work in the movies.  So what is a girl to do?  Oh, yeah. She finds a voodoo witch doctor to get revenge and finds herself at the center of a slasher film come to life, complete with bizarre rituals, drugs, zombies, shrunken heads, ugly tattoos, transsexuals, murder, and a couch made from white  jaguar skin.  Sound crazy?  It is.  A veritable roller coaster ride, experienced in a disconnected dream-like state through the eyes of protagonist Lisa, that ends with no promise of sunny skies ahead.

  • Title: Brand New Cherry Flavor
  • Author: Todd Grimson
  • Prominent Characters: Lisa Nova, Boro
  • Recommended reader age: 18+
  • Sexual content level: moderate
  • Classification: Horror


***** Brand New Cherry Flavor (BNCF) is a horror novel.  It is not the type of book we typically review on GraveTells, so it will not be getting a Heart rating, but will be getting the full treatment of an otherwise typical review provided by myself, your Captain. 🙂 *****

Brand New Cherry Flavor is a horror novel that reads like a strange meandering slasher film with young self-serving film school grad Lisa Nova as the protagonist.  She’s impossible to like as a character; in fact, I hated her through the whole novel and found myself angry that she escaped the denouement relatively unscathed.  At the end of the book, I was left with the impression that Lisa had learned nothing from her experiences and also felt little to no real remorse for the friends and people on the periphery of her life that had died, beyond the realization that she was now without them.  Lisa Nova survived only to continue on as the same spoiled, self-centered, and (dare I say) sociopathic bitch she always was.

This novel took me nearly a month to complete, only being able to digest it in small chunks or nibbles, depending on where I was in the plot arc.  There is a sense that the author really doesn’t like any of his characters either; in fact they seem to be presented as archetypes of people he may have met at some point while living in Los Angeles.  It may be conjecture but I think perhaps the movies Grimson was watching, combined with the contempt he felt for the surrounding sycophants, purged itself into this novel.  If he were a film-maker, Grismon might have made a movie in the realm of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which is a satirical take on consumerism masquerading as a zombie horror film. There is also a comparison to be drawn to the first Friday the Thirteenth film, where all the bad little boys and girls get their comeuppance in the most grotesque, torturous way possible.


Memorable Quotes:

Pissing off Lisa Nova can be bad for your health:

She couldn’t let herself be f****ed with in this way.  It was important that Lou understand.  She should have stuck that fork in his face.  Gone for an eye.


Cue the foreboding background music:

“…..well, if you really want to see Boro, I’ll send you to him.  Don’t blame me if he turns you into a zombie biker chick with three hundred tattoos.”


An interesting thought here:

“When you let yourself become an image… it becomes more than just a representation.  It takes breath, it becomes an emanation… and you lose your otherness, your capacity to be natural.  That’s what happens to stars who are overphotographed – they turn into icons, religious images painted on a piece of wood.  Or images painted on a piece of film.  The more intimate the pose that is publicized, the more reproductions, the less of your self you have left.”


If you like Brand New Cherry Flavor

Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box is a horror novel that takes the world of ghost stories and turns it on its head.  It is gory, surreal, and may make you scared of bumps and bangs in the night.  It too has a dream-like quality to the events in the plot arc.

If zombies are up your alley (*fist bump to you my friend!) then you might want to check out Rise Again by Ben Tripp.  It reads like a movie set to paper too, with a large ensemble cast that revolves around recently returned to the states war veteran Danielle Adelman.  She manages to survive and organize survivors when the inevitable zombie apocalypse hits.  (Mr. Tripp also has a ton of downloadable freebies on his website that I have had loads of fun printing out and hanging all over my office.)


Final thoughts:

This book is definitely not for everyone.  It is what I would call “intellectual horror”.  When I read a book, I like to escape my world for awhile, live in someone else’s reality.  I did not and do not want to live in Lisa Nova’s world.  However, this book made me think and draw comparisons between it and reality television.  There are people clamoring to sell pieces of their soul to get attention and fame by feeding our country’s growing appetite for sacrificial flesh via the intrusion of the masses by way of camera, producers, directors, and “unscripted” drama.

There is a social statement sewn into the fabric of Brand New Cherry Flavor, and it is not a nice or comfortable one.   How willing are we to send up our young and beautiful, our fading stars and has-beens, our never–wases, our disillusioned, our hopefuls to the altar of La-La Land?  Does the answer to lost dreams and broken promises lie in the arms of psychotropic drugs, sex without love, nubile flesh as vehicle for self advancement, curses and magic, blood and death, detachment from reality, life viewed only through the sterility and safety of a movie camera?  The young Hollywood hipster parading for paparazzi and living well only as long as the media vampires are latched on may think so.

Look out America, Lisa Nova will be in your living room tonight via Teen Mom, The Real World, Big Brother and Survivor.  And she doesn’t give a sh*t about you.


Related Links Todd Grimson’s website Publisher’s website Ben Tripp’s website for Rise Again Joe Hill’s website, author of Heart Shaped Box

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About The Author
The Captain
When not in pursuit of two small children, a sausage shaped black lab, workaholic husband, crazed hermit crab, bachelor's degree, Jensen Ackles, or editors, I spend time writing and reading PNR/UF as fast as my overtaxed eyes and fingers can read and type. I'm busily writing a series with plenty of Smex Beam deployment and the occasional short story. I am susceptible to bribes involving chocolate, peanut butter, and interesting combinations of the two.

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