Review: Muscle Memory

We’ve all seen the brain-switching genre, usually in crappy movies about parents and teenagers, where the kids experience the burden of adult responsibility and parents get a taste of the terrible hardships of high school.  They walk a mile in one another’s shoes and come out wiser for it.  How charming.  But Muscle Memory twists this simple idea into something fresh, entertaining, and disturbing.  The body switch happens not to a gimmicky pair of people, but to an entire town.  Most guys wake up in the body of their wife (or mistress).  Housecats wake up as the family dog.  One guy wakes up in the body of a sheep, the implications of which he firmly denies.

But the main character, Billy, wakes up to find his wife dead inside his own body.  It turns out that she’d poisoned him with antifreeze the previous night, only for the switch to happen.  Now she’s the one who’s dead, but inside Billy’s body.  Not only does Billy have to deal with his new female body.  Not only do he and his neighbors have to discover how and why they’ve been switched.  Billy has to also deal with the fact that his marriage sucked, his wife tried to kill him, and now he has to bury his own body.

Muscle Memory feels like an old school episode of the Twilight Zone, and it makes for quick and satisfying reading.  The twists and turns are subtle and deliciously weird.  The characters are normal folks put into a situation that is equal parts absurd and dangerous.  And as a writer, Steve Lowe has a really great voice that brings across these small town characters and the dilemma they’re in.  The dialogue feels real and the emotions authentic, lending a lot of humanity to a story about brain-switching, which is normally a silly premise.  It’s that mixture that makes Muscle Memory a really great bizarro novella.  Plus it has Terry Bradshaw in a dress!

Get it here:

Two weeks until Free Comic Book Day, where I’ll be selling weird books like this one to unsuspecting readers.  Very soon I’ll have a review up for “Love in the Time of Dinosaurs” by Kirsten Alene.  It has T-Rexes with rocket launchers, which is awesome.


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