TOXICITY is Max Booth III’s debut pitch-black humor/horror novel, wherein the lives of a dozen people are built up and torn down in less than a week flat. Also, about a cultist crime ring that plans to end the world through circulation of highly addictive psychotropic drugs.
TOXICITY is a fun read through and through, even if it lacks the author’s familiar unsettling horror narrative. It is a fast-paced book with lots of darkly funny moments, featuring the nicest bastard you’ll ever meet in the guise of Maddox Kane as he attempts to put his life back together and ultimately fails.
Unfortunately, some of its characters have been left undeveloped, leaving too much room for doomed junkies caught in the throes of divine epiphany. Certain events in the book are also resolved with a sort of ultraviolent comic-book logic, clashing loudly with the overall pacing and tone of the book. The ending’s ambiguity was also a weak point, depriving the reader of a well-deserved climax that the author had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could pull off.
If you can look past those faults, then I cannot recommend TOXICITY enough. It’s creepy, it’s fun and it’s like Shameless, if shameless was directed by David Cronenberg in his Videodrome days.