As a fan of Bryan Smith who owns some half a dozen of his titles, I'd thought I knew what to expect when opening one of his novels. Especially when said novel happens to be the sequel to one of his more gory and disgusting efforts, namely Depraved.
Turns out I was kidding myself.
Smith here effortlessly outdoes his first foray into the gruesome town of Hopkins Bend by detailing some of the more outlandish and visceral tortures and torments ever visited upon a group of characters in a mainstream published work. Seriously folks, this one has it all. Stomach-churning torture, attempted rape, actual rape, sadistic killings, senseless murders, and detailed descriptions of cannibalism (including the cooking that comes before hand).
If none of that appeals to you, steer right away. Because Smith is relentless in his efforts to explore the limits of human depravity. ie. This one is aptly named.
There are also few - if any - characters to empathise with, as every one of the main POV characters is downright despicable and deplorable by novel's end. This started to grate with me, until I gave in and just went with the flow, realising there was no moral compass to find within these pages. Instead, nobody was truly safe and an ill-fated bullet, axe, or meat cleaver was only one turn of the page away for most of Smith's characters.
Though I can only recommend this to those who enjoy a nastier edge to their horror fiction, I nevertheless found Depraved 2 to flow well, roll off the page smoothly, and generally be a great deal of fun. What that says about my mental state, I'd rather not get into ...
4 Extremely Large Grill Plates for Depraved 2.