Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sweet Dreams by William W. Johnstone

Sweet Dreams
by William W. Johnstone
1985 Zebra

Alright, strap yourself in.

Our jumping off point is the phenomena of ghostly lights seen around Missouri.  I don't know if this is specifically the Missouri Headlights, I mean, Spook Lights -

There's also an archaeological dig at an Indian burial site.  A Manitou, or Indian spirit thingee, uses the light to travel in and rape women.  He rapes a doctor's wife and explodes her head with electricity, but it's ok because she was an evil harpy because she didn't like that he was cheating on her with his secretary.  Dames.

Said doctor performs an autopsy on his own wife then sleeps with his new psychiatrist girlfriend the same night.  This is our hero.  The two doctors befriend a couple of little kids who are special.  Special how?  Maybe we'll find out later, if Johnstone remembers (he doesn't).

We move into the Devil series template here.  The town is isolated, with people getting amnesia if they cross the border in either direction.  The townspeople inclined towards evil get superevil and work for the Manitou.  Of course, this includes all the teenagers.  A handful (the kids, the doctors, a preacher, and a couple of cops) stay normal.  Everyone else becomes a zoned out zombie, shuffling through a semblance of normal life.

The kids' parents have incestuous orgies while they're trying to sleep and the kids' toys come to life and start banging each other.  What's going on?  Luckily, there's a magic Indian man to explain everything.  And, yes, he's a drunk.

The Manitou is very dangerous and can't be stopped by Western Jesus magic.  Only another Manitou can stop it, or maybe the kids, or the medicine man's magic, or maybe he can't be stopped, but definitely not by anything God can do.

So, something something about being between two worlds.  We have to go to the haunted house!  The drunks, kids, doctors, and cops force their way through a storm to get to the haunted house.  The woman cop gets blown away by the wind, raped some, then teleports back to the house with a sore tush.

Yeah, the raping.  There's a lot of rape in this book.  Like, twenty or something.  Every character's backstory involves rape.  Child rape, monster rape, ghost rape, all the rape is in this book.  Never seen so many anuses get "bulled" into.

So the group gets to the haunted house and hit a time warp to 1890.  Their clothes change to old timey clothes, but they're invisible spirits so it doesn't matter, and they run into the evil man that lived there in 1890 who is also a ghost at the same time.  He rapes a bunch of kids.

They befriend a ghost dog and the Manitou starts confronting everyone with illusions of their darkest fears.  The evil man that is also a ghost says he works for Satan, who might be teaming up with the Manitou, but let's not go anywhere with that.  The cops fight a living wall of human flesh with pointy sticks.

We're three fourths of the way through, so let's introduce a bunch of new characters.  Some cops figure out how to get into town and keep their memories.  They team up with a priest and go to the haunted house.

There's a running subplot about a teacher (yes, she gets raped) who get's possessed by the Manitou, wears Indian clothes, and skins men alive.  The skinned men still live and she joins the evil rapey people on a raid on the haunted house.

The rapey people get shot, and the skinned people melt under holy water and crosses, because that works now.  That thing about Jesus magic not working?  Never mind, it works fine.  God just opens up an earthquake, the Manitou falls in, the end.

But wait...EPILOGUE !!!

The Manitou crawls out of the ground into a lake a couple days later.  So much for Jesus magic.  Only a few pages left, can we squeeze in a couple more rapes?  Because the Manitou babies grow fast, and in one year they'll be full grown and the Manitou will strike again.

How are the kids doing?  They're apprehensive, because they've got the feeling that in one year this will all happen again.

Johnstone was nice enough to even list all of his own plot holes and lost threads there at the end:

  • The kids were supposed to be special, didn't do anything.
  • The magic Indian was supposed to be special, all he did was give wrong information and die somehow.
  • The spook lights got forgotten.
  • So much was made about God not being in the same world as the Manitou, yet this couldn't be more of a deux es machina if it got wheeled down on ropes.
  • None of what anyone did mattered.  God could have zapped the Manitou whenever he wanted and saved the town a lot of rape.

But don't worry, all these loose threads will be tied up in one year in the sequel that Johnstone is shamelessly plugging that never happened.

There were no dreams, sweet or otherwise.

The Kindle edition was done by the Lyrical Press imprint of Kensington Books, an ostensibly real publishing company.  They evidently had an intern just scan in a paperback, complete with OCR errors and the original back matter.  I just sent Zebra my 50 cents for their catalog.


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  2. Finally read "The Nursery" by Johnstone. Oh, man, he throws rapes around like Mardi Gras beads! Sounds like more of the same here. I'm fascinated with him and his career. Terrible writer, but I'm kinda hooked, somehow.