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The Body Shop and Other Amusements
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ISBN-10: 1-89484-130-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Supernatural/Horror
eBook Length: 257 Pages
Published: March 2002



From inside the flap

The Body Shop consists of a novella and twelve short stories. The title piece is the most engaging and original story in the whole collection. Its 40,000 odd words pack in a fair amount of black satirical horror. Set in a post apocalyptic future where life is very cheap and rapidly cannibalised, we discover the human body to be very much in need of a Dr. Frankenstein figure (Edgerton) to put us back together. Of course there's a high monetary cost, and disregard of gender and ethics. For our hideous human vanity will do anything to procure a functional body. My favourite moments are when the heads (only), of the injured rich, argue about their needs. They've been waiting for a body for years. Even become a little community, that gets to sing carols with Edgerton once a year!


Reviews and Awards

The Body Shop and Other Amusements
A review by Steve Lazarowitz


The Body Shop, Patrick Welch's second e-published book, is a horror collection. I have been aware of Mr. Welch's work for some time, and have never been disappointed by it. The Body Shop is no exception.

The title story is a novella that takes us into a rather odd near-future. The political and social ramifications are never explored deeply. Instead, the focus is on a man named Egerton and his business of building bodies for dead people. He uses a bit of surgery and a bit of voodoo to accomplish feats that normal medicine can never hope to match.

Mr. Egerton's collection of animated heads, all awaiting body parts, provide a great deal of comic relief in a story of greed, treachery and betrayal. Without giving any more away, Mr. Welch creates an alternate future that is eminently entertaining and completely outrageous. For me, the best part of reading The Body Shop was never knowing what was going to happen. The tale twists and turns, at times most unexpectedly. The characters and plot never ceased to enthrall as I flew through this wonderfully compelling black comedy.

In addition to the "title track," there are 16 other stories, some of which have been published before. Most are only a page or two in length, but all are well worth reading. Many of the shorter stories lack the humour of The Body Shop. Quite a few etched a violent impression in my mind.

With The Body Shop, Patrick Welch has done it again. His plots are original, his writing impeccable and his sense of humour bizarre. If you are a fan of short speculative fiction, this book is a must read. If you're not, you might want to give The Body Shop a try, to see just what you've been missing.


Copyright ? 2000 by Steve Lazarowitz


Patrick Welch's The Body Shop


By Garrett Calcaterra


Isn't technology a wonderful thing? Oh, sure you could come up with a couple thousand problems the internet has dragged into the world, but for the sake of The Body Shop, I for one am glad the internet exists. The Body Shop is the name of Patrick Welch's new book which consists of a novelette by the same name and a little more than a dozen short stories, all in the horror genre. The problem with novelettes, novellas, and short story collections, is that unless you're already a huge name in the publishing industry, there's no way in hell you're going to get them published. At least that's the way it was before the internet. With the internet we now have on-line book publishers that are better able to serve both readers and writers, like Dark Star Publications where you can find The Body Shop.

Like I said, The Body Shop is a collection of horror stories and the novelette. The novelette is around 40,000 words and is definitely for an adult audience. Yes, there's violence and sexual scenes. Me likey! It's not gratuitous, though. With "The Body Shop" Welch has created a dark and creepy post-Y2K world where those that have managed to stay wealthy despite the collapse of the US government hide out in gated mountain communities with their own private police forces, and everyone else is left to fend for themselves in the cities. And the characters are an eclectic bunch?a bunch you wouldn't expect to like all that much, but that you can't help grinning at and cheering for. The whole story is bizarre and terribly imaginative, creating a world that is original and captivating. As long as you're not a weak-stomached wimp, it's a must read.

Now, what to say about the rest of the stories. Well, first of all I haven't read them all yet (that's the nice thing about short story collections, you don't have to read them all at once), but the ones I have read show the same imaginative crafting as the novelette and diversity as well, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Nothing's worse than an author that only writes the same ole story over and over again under different guises. Well, okay, there are worse things, but you know what I mean, and besides, you don't run into that problem with this collection, there's quite a variety?everything from Twilight Zone-esque pieces to more graphically violent ones to what else I can't say, because like I've said, I haven't read them all yet. Many of the stories have appeared in various e-zines, so if you're a horror buff you might have seen some of these before. But whether you've seen any of them before or not, you probably want to check out the book. I'm glad I did.

The Body Shop

Reviewed by Barry Hunter. Baryon

This time the talented Welch, author of THE 13th MAGICIAN, presents a collection of interesting tales that are sure to enchant, engross and possibly, gross you out as well The title story is not about a car repair shop, but rather a Doctor who has developed a way to preserve life in and interesting way until he can obtain the spare parts needed to build them a new body, but the price must also be right. There are several twists and turns here. "At the Sound of the Tone" will guarantee you will never look at your answering machine the same way again. "Last Call at the Dew Drop Inn" is a tale of dimensional shifts at a place we all will recognize. "Good Provider" is a short reminder not to break the law. Other tales of voodoo, football, and "The Tollbooth" fill this out. Just as THE 13th MAGICIAN was a splendid fantasy tale, this collection shows a broader spectrum of Welch’s talent and it is a volume you don?t want to miss. Be sure to get a copy of this one and THE 13TH MAGICIAN as well if you haven?t already done so.

The Body Shop and Other Amusements

By Jewel Dartt Midnight Scribe Reviews

The Body Shop is a hair-raising, chilling mix of gruesome horror stories that will keep you awake half the night. For a horror fan like me the book was absolutely a terrifying read. I loved it! Warning: This book is not for the faint of heart?be prepared for the ride of your life as Patrick Welch takes you through his world of dark imaginings and leaves you breathless?looking over your shoulder nervously until the very last page. Four and 1/2 stars.


The Body Shop and Other Amusements

By Cindy Penn for Wordweaving

In the novella THE BODY SHOP, Patrick Welch challenges the imagination in post-apocalyptic America. Graff Pauley desires to become a part of the Privileged rank, the only people who still enjoy wealth and peace. To make money, he supplies body parts to Edgerton, a modern-day Frankenstein.

A talking human head greets visitors to Edgerton's store. Most of the wares are for show anyway, as Edgerton makes his money selling body parts not selling his pawn goods. A medical school dropout, Edgerton achieves miracles through voodoo.

An accidental meeting brings Pauley together with Violet Dreams, the woman who epitomizes the mindless, wealthy seeking entertainment in sex and drugs. Together, they become not Edgerton's victims, but his conquerors.

THE BODY SHOP anthology also includes twelve previously published and unpublished short stories. My favorite demonstrates just how invisible some of us have become in within our own society. Irreverent, humorous, and grotesque, Patrick Welch vividly and statistically comments on darkest fears and our darkest desires. Very highly recommended.



The Body Shop and Other Amusements (Excerpt)


THE BODY SHOP


?Visitor! Visitor!? the unseen voice screamed as soon as he entered the storefront.

Graff Pauley paused and searched for the source. He found the talking head perched on a bookrack to his right, pressed firmly between tomes on herbal medicine and hydraulics. The head was from an older man, not one of his. Pauley knew an air pump was connected to it so the larynx would function. How Edgerton maintained them otherwise he had no idea and didn?t want one. ?How ya doing?? he nodded.

?Visitor! Visitor!?

?No mood to talk, eh? Is your boss in??

?Visitor! Visitor!? the head maintained its litany.

Pauley ignored the tables brimming with used merchandise; he was there to sell, not buy. Most of the wares were worthless anyway; Edgerton made his money by marketing body parts, not pawned goods. Still he wondered how Edgerton managed to run a business without armed security during evening hours. In this city, at night, everything was fair game. It was merely one of many subjects Edgerton refused to discuss.

The head maintained its mindless alarm while Pauley made his way to the counter. He was relieved the sentry hadn?t come from him as it was always unpleasant when the watchman Edgerton selected turned out to be one he had provided; the recriminations could go on endlessly. Pauley pounded on the bell four or five times before he was rewarded by muttered curses. Then the curtain to the back rooms opened and Edgerton entered.

Edgerton was a roly-poly sort, a good six inches shorter than Pauley, with greasy black hair and eyes and voice. He was dressed in a bloodied lab coat, the rubber gloves he wore were still damp. ?What do you want? Oh, good evening, Pauley. Anything for me??

?Depends.? Pauley placed the cooler he was carrying on the counter and removed the top. ?Liver, two kidneys, eyes,? he pointed to each in turn. ?Fresh within the last half hour. Quality stock.?

?Let me think.? Edgerton scratched his chin. ?Can?t use the eyes; wrong color. Easier to grow my own. I can always use a liver. Kidneys, I don?t know. What type??

?Like I have time to do a tissue match??

He shook his head. ?Rush, rush, rush. Is that what our world is coming to? I?ll stick with the liver.? He reached under the counter and retrieved a similar cooler, then placed the body part carefully inside. ?No lungs, heart? Head??

?Damaged during retrieval.?

He nodded, then opened his cash register and counted out $5,000, then paused. ?This is a good liver, right? No cirrhosis, not from some street drunk??

?You know me better than that. The man was driving a BMW.?

?Good.? The money exchanged hands. ?Let me know if you get any lungs. Running short.?

?No problem. See ya.?

?And heads. I can always use heads,? Edgerton called out as he disappeared behind the curtain.

Pauley nodded then left as well. ?Goodnight,? he said as he passed the head.

?Goodnight and thank you for coming,? it responded. Like a parrot.

Once outside Pauley leaned against the window and sighed. A lousy 5,000 bucks. Not that it had been that difficult. As usual he had been waiting in his van parked innocently at the side of the curving mountain road; when the BMW went by he was in immediate pursuit. Forcing his victim off the road and into a tree was simple enough and the man was killed almost instantly when he was slammed into his steering wheel. Pauley did him a favor and shot him once in the head anyway. Then drag the body into his van, a short drive to a secluded side road, a bit of work with bonesaw and scalpel and he was done. Unfortunate the heart and lungs had been damaged, the victim’s broken ribs had seen to that. Pauley cursed; if only the man had an airbag. If only he hadn?t tried so hard to get away.

So he was in a dark mood when he returned to his van and studied it under the street lamp. The front right fender was crumpled, paint from the BMW scarred the passenger side. Easy enough to correct, he shrugged, and the required payment was still in the back, resting comfortably in a body bag. ?Hope they?re still up,? he said as he drove away.