BOOK REVIEW – Pied! by Adrian Baldwin


This is a non-spoiler review, because apparently people are sensitive about spoilers. Pfft.

TW: I might not recommend this book to people who are sensitive about sexual assault. It might also be a bad idea for those who suffer coulrophobia.

When upcoming indie crime author Rex Stevens is kidnapped after a book-signing event and forced to create an erotic romance novel by brother-sister couple and pair of cockadoodie coulrophiles, you just know this story will not end well. (“Seriously, you want me to write about clown sex?”)

Definitely not for the squeamish or easily offended!

PIED! is the first offering in Adrian Baldwin’s “Strange Shorts” series, described as ‘a dark comedy short story for grown ups’. It also states on the cover that it’s not for the easily offended and I thought, ‘Good! Hopefully there’s some really heinous content here! Perhaps I’ll get to see people suffer! MWAHAHAHAHA!’

Before we even get into the review of the story itself, just take a look above at the presentation of this book. I usually just munch on book covers, but not this one. It’s quite rare for me to be pleased with anything, let alone impressed, but I’ve never seen so much effort made with the presentation of a short story that retails somewhere around the £3 mark for a paperback copy. Before you even crack the uniquely-styled cover of this story, you get a feel for the sort of tone and atmosphere you’re in for. It felt sort of dirty and mean. Yay!

PIED! is the story of horror writer Rex Stevens, who gets kidnapped by some lunatics after a book-signing event, and held hostage in order to write a story that pleases his kidnappers. Now, before you say “well, isn’t that just a rip-off of Misery”, let me tell you – nah, shut up. It’s most certainly an homage – in fact, on the back cover, Baldwin states that it is inspired by Stephen King’s Misery and IT – but mostly Misery. And what a merging of those worlds this is…

First up, I have to tell you that there should be a sexual assault trigger warning on this book. It is for that very reason that I hesitate to say this next thing… this story is absolutely hilarious. Now, I do not in the slightest think that the particular subject matter is in any way funny, but the character in question’s thought processes during all he endures is just comical to the point of laugh-out-loud funny, as is the general tone of this balls-to-the-wall chaos of a tale.

It’s really hard to get into the specifics of a short story without ruining it for you (I mean, I have no problem with ruining joy for others, but Goat Leader has forbidden it) so I’m reluctant to go into detail because the real fun of reading this is going along with the haphazard, sarcastic inner monologue of the main character, and wondering what in the infernal hell is going to happen next. I will tell you that there are cream pies, and that I cackled like a smug witch with every other page.

This is dark, grisly, and likely to make you flinch, all while you laugh and question your own moral compass and sanity for laughing. I mean, I didn’t question my own morals, because I’m proud of my low moral character, but the average person who worries about such things might.

I don’t think Jolly Goat would like this at all, so I’m going to leave it where they’ll find it in the hopes that little Jolly will be curious enough to take a peak, and then become traumatised by the mania of it all.

Adrian Baldwin has a unique authorial voice and a daring sense of humour that I really haven’t seen much of elsewhere, not even in the extreme horror community – not pushed quite this far in terms of where he manages to elicit a laugh. A refreshing voice in the horror field and one I will be reading more of. He wreaks havoc. I like havoc.

I would recommend this to extreme horror fans, certainly those with a dark sense of humour, and those who enjoy a quick, entertaining, brutal read.

If you want to go ahead and order yourself a copy, you can get the book here:


If you’d like to learn more about Adrian Baldwin and his work, you can visit his website here:


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