20th Dec2017

‘No Solicitors’ Book Review

by Philip Rogers

Written by John Callas | Published by Fountain Blue Publishing | Format: Paperback, 220pp

no-solicitors-poster

Lewis Cutterman is a well-respected brain surgeon and happily married with two beautiful children who run the family business. They are model citizens within the community. A simple visit to their home by a beautiful saleswoman is greeted by an invitation to dinner. But dinner takes a deadly turn when the woman finds herself drugged by the family. Waking up in a basement, strapped to an operating table, and surrounded by other prisoners of the Cutterman family, she quickly discovers that their captors intend to remove and sell their internal organs on the black market. And then to get rid of the evidence, they will all be slowly eaten, piece… by … piece.

The original concept for No Solicitors came to John Callas when he was talking to a friend from Warner Bros. He was explaining how he had become frustrated by a solicitor (in the US this means someone selling something, not a lawyer) because even though there was a sign directly above the doorbell which states “No Solicitors”, they continued to ring the bell. In response to the situation, his friend suggested that John should write a story about the solicitors in which he kills them (fictionally) and from this idea, the concept for No Solicitors was eventually written as both a novel and script for the film.

It would have been easier to devise a simple serial killer story, where someone goes on a murderous killing spree after a solicitor rings the bell once too often, but the approach which John takes with No Solicitors is somewhat unexpected. The villains themselves are a likeable family and portrayed as respectable members of society. As the story progresses we warm to the characters as they are developed, even though we know behind their façade lies a dark and twisted evil. In reality, despite what we choose to see they are not dissimilar to the abominable family members who we despise from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.

Lewis Cutterman is a top brain surgeon and his wife head nurse at the same hospital. The family business is run by their children Scott and Nicole whose main role is to look after unsuspecting solicitors who have been kidnapped by the family and harvested for two reasons. Their internal organs are removed as required and sold to families in need of the organs and the money to pay. As for the remaining parts of the body, they are served as fresh source of food for the family, because nothing goes to waste.

It is difficult to see how you would associate with people so callous, but its the dark satirical way in which John delivers the scenes and the almost normality the situation. It draws you in as a reader to almost begin to think the same – Although this doesn’t mean that I am planning to refrigerate the next unwanted solicitor for my Sunday roast! A great example is where Scott begins pull out the bone from his mouth after appetisers made from their latest victim is served. Scott says, “Yum. Great seasoning, Nicole. And the meat is so tender it just falls off the bone.” Despite knowing what they are being served and how it was taken, in a strange way the description and dialogue had me thinking of the chicken from KFC which is always finger licking good.

The moments of dark comedy continue to run throughout the book which are incorporated into moments of graphic violence, which is described in detail to give you a clear vision of what is happening. This is especially effective when it comes to the torture scenes where patients who misbehave are remediated through punishment. There is a darkness to the moment with the macabre violence, but the twisted humour which has you wincing one minute, but then laughing the next.

The dark humour in the book is shown perfectly in the match cuts, which I can imagine being some of the highlights in the film too. Moving swiftly from an often-graphic and bloody scene involving the family, to a more everyday moment with the investigating police. I don’t want to give too much away regarding these scenes, but I no longer have an appetite for hotdogs as these images are often difficult to erase.

The story throws in a few twists and raises intriguing questions that are never really answered. This includes the mother Rachel Cutterman whose character seems to have a more compassionate sentiment towards the prisoners. But with the most sinister characters in the book Scott and Nicole both afraid to upset her and the mention of a third child who died indicates a suggestion that there is a darker side to Rachel.

The book flows really well, with a few unexpected twists and moments of tension which leaves the reader deliberating the outcome of how they want the events to play out. Instinctively we care about the victims and you want them to escape. But on the other hand, even though they are not quite the morally justified antiheroes they believe themselves to be (the organs donated are saving lives), you also want the Cuttermans to get away with it. Somehow, we can empathise with the family, as if by being a reader we have developed a variation of Stockholm syndrome.

I really enjoyed No Solicitors as it takes a fresh look at the cannibal genre, with a brilliant balance of horror and comedy which has me laughing constantly throughout. As pure escapism No Solicitors is brilliantly entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a dark sense of humour who is not easily offended. I wouldn’t say that there is a moral meaning to the story, but if anything, it serves as a warning to those hard selling solicitors, who will not take ‘No’ for an answer.

The novel No Solicitors is available to purchase now on Amazon

The film No Solicitors, now retitled No Visitors, will be released on DVD and VOD January 2nd 2018.The film will have a special showing in the UK at Horror-on-Sea on Saturday 27th January.
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For more information on the event and to purchase tickets to the Horror-on-Sea see the website for details: https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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