Ball Peen Hammer Review

Ball Peen Hammer

TITLE: Ball Peen Hammer

AUTHORS: Adam Rapp (Writer), George O’Connor (Illustrator)

GENRE: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Horror

INFO | Goodreads

BUY | Amazon (seems that only second-hand copies are available, so I guess it is out of print now)


This book is a bit of an odd one to review.  The themes are so dark that giving it a high score feels dirty somehow, but it has too many merits to ignore.

The setting was a fairly typical dystopian landscape, where we meet our lead living in a stench-filled basement.  As he is joined by a journalist writing about the atrocities of life for these people, we learn through their conversations that there is a gruesome operation at work.  Meanwhile, living in the same building is a young pregnant woman searching for the father of her child among the poor, disease-stricken population.

The illustrations do an excellent job in creating a disgusting, dirty atmosphere – it didn’t take much to imagine those awful smells trapped in the basement.  They also helped to ground the story very much in the horror genre.  I read the book at night and definitely went to bed feeling just a little disturbed by what I had experienced.

Though the cliffhanger ending made me go searching for a volume two (there isn’t one), the lack of closure seems reminiscent of the world they live in.  I’d like to think that both characters somehow made it, but after reading about the terrible conditions inside and out of the building, it’s somehow hard to believe.

Overall, Ball Peen Hammer is not a lighthearted read that will bring you any kind of joy, but if you love horror then this book will certainly give your moral compass a fright – what is right and wrong when the world has warped beyond recognition?

Star Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5/5)


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