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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 04/2022
  • 9798985706703
  • 166 pages
  • $14.99
Hardcover Details
  • 03/2022
  • 9798985706727
  • 134 pages
  • $21.99
Ebook Details
  • 04/2022
  • 9798985706710 B09VBZS8T5
  • 106 pages
  • $4.99
Brian Lupo
Author
Ugly Faces
Brian Lupo, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Lexi Peters, a law student at Red Falls University, has a traumatic secret-a secret that has left her terrified of open spaces. When her best friend, Rachael, abandons her on winter break, a desperate and emotionally fragile Lexi must figure out how to make the 443-mile trip to her parents' house on her own, or else risk her condition regressing. Mustering the courage to make the drive is the least of Lexi's troubles. Unbeknownst to her, she is heading straight into the eye of a storm. One of the worst on record. Lexi's psyche starts to unravel when her past comes back to haunt her. Familiar faces in a rusted truck are stalking her, and they're not the only ones. Through desolate canyons and flooded roads, Lexi will be pushed to the limits to manage her condition and escape from her shocking past. An intense, grueling game of life or death will leave her screaming in the middle of nowhere, fighting a mental breakdown.
Reviews
This memorably horrific journey from Lupo (Goat's Head) centers on a nightmarish drive and a traumatized law student possibly experiencing mental illness, as Lexi Peters faces a long trip home from college. From the start, Lupo reveals that Lexi endured sexual assault as a child, a trauma that has given her a terror of wide-open spaces. When her friend Rachael cancels on making the drive home with her, Lexi must brave the California trip by herself, a trek that Lupo makes both dizzying and suffocating. The shocks of the road–wrecks, aggressive drivers, a near-apocalyptic storm–all serve to ramp up her anxiety and fuel her paranoia about men wanting to hurt her.

Things take a bizarre turn when a car driven by a killer dressed as a clown runs her off the road, and Ugly Faces shifts from a narrative of a tense psychological journey and into a straight-up fight for survival against a crazed spree killer. Lexi’s overwhelming anxiety and experience of physical trauma shape the storytelling itself, as Lupo employs blackouts, time slips, and other clues that there's more going on under the surface than readers might initially suspect. Lupo is especially skilled at introducing shocking plot developments out of the blue in a highly understated manner, adding to the story’s surreal, apocalyptic quality. Part of this is using Lexi as a highly unreliable and even unstable narrator, as she introduces concepts that mean a lot to her–like her "funny faces"–while leaving the reader to puzzle over what she means.

However, every twist is earned, including the horrifying final ones, as it becomes clear just how and why a seemingly fragile young woman is able to face down a vicious killer. This is a dark and brutal story about how trauma can do horrible things and take people down a path of no return.

Takeaway: A tense roadtrip into psychological horror, told with suffocating power and killer twists.

Great for fans of: Andy Davidson’s In the Valley of the Sun, D. Alexander Ward’s Lost Highways.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 04/2022
  • 9798985706703
  • 166 pages
  • $14.99
Hardcover Details
  • 03/2022
  • 9798985706727
  • 134 pages
  • $21.99
Ebook Details
  • 04/2022
  • 9798985706710 B09VBZS8T5
  • 106 pages
  • $4.99

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