Violence Dave: Heartless by Konstantine Paradias is Badass Fun
Violence Dave: Heartless’ cover struck me as a mix of adventure comic books, military science-fiction shooter video games, and what reminded me of Ozzy Osborne’s wicked-cool 80’s heavy metal album The Ultimate Sin. It appeared this book was going to be badass fun right from the start.
The novella by author Konstantine Paradias begins aboard a dropship that carries Dave and his platoon through blood-red skies above a ruined Earth landscape filled with mounds of dead meat, skulls, and crushed glass. The floor opens beneath them and they parachute right into madness. Once you’re in, you’re in. No time is wasted with chapter breaks is this story, so be ready to buckle down and charge through. Each sentence requires your full attention; because if you aren’t with it, you’ll lose and have to start over. Like a video game. Like how Dave and his platoon have been doing, dying over and over—sometimes the exact same way—as they battle the demons of Hell on Earth. This time, however, Dave has learned some tricks he hopes will destroy these demons churning out from the Heart of Darkness once and for all.
This is a take no prisoners war story. Viscous dog soldiers are ready to rip Dave apart. A flying insect with a woman-face and three sets of jaws spits acid that can burn through Dave’s Iron-Man-like armor. Mechanical crow scavengers big enough to ride, bull-demons, brain-snatchers, they’ve all stopped Dave before and they’re attacking again. But this time, to his surprise, swooping overhead is a flying whale-sized Behemoth with tentacles all over its body that feeds on whatever is in its path. Although obviously not invincible to these demons, having armor that helps rebuild wounds while numbing the pain by shooting Dave up with oxytocin is a quick fix. However, the guns Dave and his platoon are supplied with most likely will get the job done: futuristic guns that shoot gobs of concentrated acid, bursts of burning energy, and green flame to describe a few. Some guns reload as often and easy as in a video game where all he has to do is holler “Reload.”
Paradias does an awesome job of uniquely describing the way a gun is shot and what impact it has each time: “I grin as I unleash a full stream of energy from the rifle, letting its white-hot plasma crash like a wave.” Same with how he describes Dave’s disposition at times: “‘I’ve had worse,’ I lie to myself but can’t really be sure. I think of the times I’ve cragged my legless body across razorwire, skin sloughing off as the napalm digs into me.” Paradias also provides an interesting and brief exposition into how the whole literal Hell on Earth thing got started and why it’s so hard to stop. In summary, he explains a necronaut (such an awesome word) crossed from the land of the living into the afterlife: a vast nightmare land where these demons eventually decided to invade Earth and open portals to Hell. But as soon as one portal is shut down another one opens. Metaphorically, I saw it as what’s happening right now in the real world with fighting terrorism. How it feels like after one terrorist group is stopped another starts up, and there might never be an end to it all. Heck, I could even say it’s like dealing with the crap that happens to me every dinner rush in the restaurant I work at.
As the first book of its kind by multi-genre experienced Konstantine Paradias, Violence Dave: Heartless has the stamina to stand alone. But knowing Dave is always ready to take on anything certainly leaves the possibility for more stories to come.
Christopher Lesko is the author of The Grlz Like Vodka, Long Live Crazy, That’s My Ghoul, The Electric Lunatic, and a handful of deranged short stories. Other creative outlets of his include photography, video production, graphic design, and abstract painting. He lives in Canfield, Ohio.