★★★★★ out of ★★★★★
By Nathan Ballingrud
The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud is the story of Will, a New Orleans bartender who finds a cell phone left behind after a bloody bar fight. While he’s waiting to return it to the owner, text messages begin to chime and Will’s curiosity gets the best of him; he checks the phone and upon reading the first message, “I think something is here with me,” his easy going life with his live in girlfriend Carrie, begins to descend into a nightmare.
Ballingrud’s beautiful prose can’t mask the visceral, gross, body horror that saturates the pages of this story. This is horror done right- less than 100 pages crawling with atmosphere and dread. He also gets New Orleans right; beginning with the opening sentence, “the roaches were in high spirits,” the story feels hot, sticky and a little filthy just like the city I call home.
The Visible Filth is the basis for the upcoming horror film Wounds, directed by Babek Anvari and featuring Dakota Johnson (who blew me away in Susperia) and Armie Hammer (who is very handsome). I am one of those people who try to read the book before seeing the movie and boy, am I glad I did. This story is fantastic and I can’t wait to read more by Nathan Ballingrud.