by | Feb 23, 2022 | Book Reviews, Leah's Lair, Legends of Tabletop

GENRE: Horror/Spookems
AUTHOR/PUBLISHER: Max Booth III, Ghoulish Books, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2022

Perpetual Motion Machine was gracious enough to send me a review copy of Max Booth III’s most recent offering, MAGGOTS SCREAMING!

Upon opening the book, I was struck by a single word. This word served as a reminder of the isolation, hopelessness and doubt I found at the pandemic’s beginning. The struggle to return to a certain type of normal, a routine. The failures and eventual victories of something as simple as a loaf of fucking bread.


I understand that my interpretation is not the intended definition of the term as it was penned. This is merely what the word means to ME.

AUTOLYSE: The magickry of hydrating flour, a preparation. Application of stinky slop in that jar on the windowsill in hope it’ll work, because there sure wasn’t any yeast available at the stores. Slim pickings there… I had a thorough yeast library on hand, but for wine and beer, not bread. Damn the luck.

I think we’re all at a point of necessary transformation in one area or another. I’ve autolysed in this house long enough, and so have you, in the spaces that you occupy. I’m ready for some microbial action. Rotting is fascinating stuff, and maggots do a great job of breaking down those soft tissues.

Half-colonized jars of King Oyster Mushroom mycelium (Pleurotus eryngii) wait their turn in fruiting chambers.

I’d better flip the page and start reading.

This tale opens with Dylan, an adolescent whose parents have divorced. His father wants to reconcile, but his mother is happy with her new beau, a previous friend of his father. Enter familiar conflict of poor Dylan, always stuck between the pair. He attempts to soothe both sides of their constant, malignant pains.

Transformation, progression, movement, control. All these issues are brought under increasing scrutiny as the characters of this tale are thrust into their abrupt alterations.

Sometimes we need to purge items that have haunted our spaces far too long. Like the dying garden that used to be tended by Dylan’s mother. Dylan and his father begin to renovate the sickly memento. A generational paragon is soon uncovered. An improvised family reunion leads to the first of many deep cackles from this reader.

Bloated eruptions are definitely involved, and remind me of a time when I crashed on a friends couch after a night of heavy drinking. I developed a terrible case of beer farts. What I thought would escape in a silent hiss trumpeted to the void beyond the Super Saver afghan draped over my body. I had woken other occupants of the home from their stupor. I heard their inquiries to each other, betting whether or not I’d shit all over myself and that priceless heirloom from some random Grandma. Pride wounded, I turned over and buried my head against the armrest. What choice did I have? I just let their comments (how rude!) and occasional rumbles roll on by. It was only gas. That blanket and my drawers would emerge unsoiled.

But back to Dylan and his father. Their antics lead to an unconventional destination under the guise of a school project. A residing doctor holds an attraction to Dylan’s Dad. She expertly guides them through. However, vultures will be vultures and strike the ones that struggle. Upon their return home, we learn that sometimes a dog only bites the feeding hand. Sometimes it bolts with the whole damned arm.

Included is a brief epistle against the funeral industry as it exists now, can’t help but agree. I am donating my body to a local medical school upon my demise.

I invite you to search websites of Medical Schools and Universities in your area to discover what forms you need to complete, return, and add to your medical record to make that inevitable, guaranteed transition as painless and cost-effective for your loved ones as can be.

Max again brings his comical cynicism and wit to illuminate uncomfortable areas we often ignore.

His works can be found HERE
and HERE

This delightful novel holds violent moments projected through a stained-glass refraction of humor and truth.