D.M.Woon, Tales of The Bastard Drunk : A review

I’m generally not one to read horror, although I do have a couple of Stephen King books on my shelves from my more adventurous days. I prefer horror in film format; that way I can take the cushion and place it in front of my face, screening out the gory bits. This is not possible when you are reading and you have a vivid imagination.So it was a surprise to find myself purchasing Tales of The Bastard Drunk by D.M.Woon. I mean, I knew I was doing it – I was just surprised I succumbed…but I’m so glad I did.

Depravity and gore

I’d read a bit about it on social media and became intrigued. Little snippets that made me think…oh go on…it can’t be that gory. Well, let’s just clear that bit up. It is that gory and more. The tales are filled with ‘depravity and gore, each worse than the one before’, although it’s all told in the best possible taste…as Kenny Everett might have said.  There is, however,  a warning on the back; ‘Be warned: not a book for delicate sensibilities’…(or your little sister/brother’s 12th birthday present, I hasten to add.)

The premise of the novella is two travellers, one haunted town, a secluded pub – and the bastard drunk. Becoming stranded, having missed their train, the two find themselves at The Finger Inn – the only place in Kramusville open. Their companion in there is the bastard drunk, who likes to tell a tale or two for the price of a drink. It is going to be a long night and a room full of tales that, as a reader, you may find you cannot put down.

Truth or Fiction?  

Not only will you be entertained by the tales themselves, but the book questions the art of storytelling – which is cleverly done and with the added twist that the travellers themselves work for a publishing company – so feel they have the upper hand when it comes to truth or fiction. But is this the case? No spoilers here…go and get yourself a copy… and a cushion if you think it might help.

Woon has been writing since before he can remember – apparently he annotated his drawings from a very early age. He would read R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Louise Cooper’s Creatures series which probably gave him a taste for horror and fantasy. Although I warn you again, this is not suitable for children.

Speaking recently on the Arm Cast Podcast, Woon expressed his preference for writing short stories. He challenged himself to put together a longer piece and he has very much succeeded here. The different voices he found in the tales became the mouthpiece for the bastard drunk character and Woon lets the main story “stitch the short stories together.” He has been surprised by some readers claiming “not to be scared by it” or “normalising the (graphic) scenes”. On reflection though, he thinks that possibly “…therein lies the horror. If you’re reading something pretty fucked up and you’re thinking that’s just normal than surely that should scare you?” Suffice to say in the Clean Up on Aisle Gore tale I would definitely think twice before allowing a child to go pick up some last minute thing from aisle 7… that’s definitely a horrific tale. They all are in my opinion.

If you wish to hear D.M Woon talking about his novella and his writing life take a listen to the first half hour of the Arm Cast Podcast below.


Tales of the Bastard Drunk is published by Mystery and Horror, LLC and available on Amazon in book and kindle format.