Book review: 12 Gauge – Dustin LaValley



12 Gauge is a collection of three very different novellas from Dustin LaValley. Novella 1 was my favourite of the three; It ticked all the boxes for this reader. The other two were damn entertaining, particularly The Deceived, which came a close second. Let’s get stuck into what I thought…

Spinner starts out as fairly routine crime caper featuring an escaped convict, it soon descends into madness, blood and body parts. Spinner is a ruthless serial killer, and believe me, he ain’t the worst character running amok amongst the Adirondack mountains. This is a story that just keeps on getting crazier and crazier. The pacing is excellent and the characters are painted in plenty of colour. Be warned, Spinner is a brutal and bloody story set against a backdrop of madness and butchery.

H/armed didn’t work quite as well for me. I loved the themes LaValley was tackling here,  but the multitude of characters in this Truman Show meets Battle Royale story made it very difficult to keep up and become fully engaged with anybody. As with Spinner, It’s plenty violent, and at times amusing, but it ended up outstaying its welcome for me. On a positive note, though, the soundtrack to this novella could have been taken straight from the Grim Reader’s iPod playlist, and I can well imagine LaValley’s song choices erupting from the speakers as the carnage ensues! Keep it heavy!

The final novella is called The Deceived and it features a botched home invasion scenario. Again, the violence is turned up to 11 as a bumbling young couple knock on the wrong door. A basement filled with horrors and a madman looms in this tense and bloody story that features some pretty sickening scenes. It becomes a real battle of wills between the captors and the capturer! I certainly enjoyed not knowing who was going to come out on top…if anybody!

12 Gauge: Songs from a Street Sweeper is a collection of 3 stories full of bad people doing bad things. Violence and blood are at the top of the menu. Be sure to pick up a copy if you think you have the stomach for it.

4/5 gaping wounds from the Grim Reader.

Pick up a copy from here.

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Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #12Gauge

12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper, Synopsis

  • Publishing Date: July 1, 2018
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Page Length: 282 pages

(12 Gauge): Songs from A Street Sweeper includes three white-knuckled novellas.


A prison escapee leads law enforcement on a chase through the Adirondack Mountains, where they encounter a reclusive elderly man with a dark secret.


An ultra-violent satirical commentary on societal norms, cliques, and obedience.

The Deceived

A criminal pair invades the home of the wrong man on the wrong day.


Dustin LaValley was unable to attend the black-tie gala to receive the SUNY Parnassus Award for Creative Writing, as he had a fight in New Hampshire the same night, where he brought home gold. He’s had several books published, and as a screenwriter several scripts produced. His psychological thriller novella The Deceived has been optioned for film.

He lives in the Adirondacks of New York, where he’s a practising Sensei of Seito Shito Ryu karate and Okinawan jujutsu.


Praise for 12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper

“Spinner is a thriller, a horror story, and an adventure narrative. It’s also a lot of fast, bloody, violent fun.” –Gabino Iglesias, Horror Talk

“LaValley creates a non-stop, adrenaline ride of violence and mayhem, in a setting Americans know all so well. H/armed is a bloody, relentless and visceral assault on the senses. Wickedly entertaining.” –Paul Hough, writer/director of “The Human Race”

“The Deceived is equal parts thrilling, creepy, and downright brutal. A wonderful tale.” –Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase



Purchase Link




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If you would like to review 12 Gauge: Songs From A Street Sweeper or feature Dustin with an interview or guest article for a media publication, blog, or author blurb, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I was intrigued anyway, and then you mentioned the metal!! This one’s goin on the pile, good work again, sir!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *raises the horns*

    Liked by 1 person

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