Heroin-In-the-Magic-NowEven with­out the vam­pires, zom­bie whores, and a Frankenstein-​esque crime king, the life of film­maker and drug addict Gary Hack would be the stuff of nightmares.

Once an ambi­tious, aspir­ing writer, Gary dwells in a squalid limbo of heroin addic­tion, self-​pity, and self-​destruction. When he’s not feed­ing his habit, his life cen­ters around mak­ing porn films, occa­sion­ally bick­er­ing with a bit­ter ex-​wife, and won­der­ing why even on a diet of heroin, he still man­ages to be fat.

Bad luck and worse choices seem to dog him, begin­ning as a school boy who earned the label of ‘deviant’ when he drew a pic­ture of the devil with ‘tits and a penis’ and earned a beat­ing from his mom.

That lit­tle episode, fre­quently recalled when the adult Gary is deep in a drug-​induced haze, has set the tra­jec­tory for a life mired in drugs, porn, and the myr­iad degra­da­tions of life shared with the mon­sters that inhabit West’s bleak and seedy ver­sion of New York City.

No ques­tion but Heroin in the Magic Now is a grip­pingly twisted saga, in which a world full of mon­sters is the new real­ity – home­less zom­bies scrounge in alley­ways, vam­pires prowl the boule­vards, and shapeshifters aspire to be porn stars. A bleaker, more soul-​crushing world would be hard to imag­ine: “Some days, Gary felt like the crea­tures were merely haunt­ing his head in a meta­phys­i­cal way and he could bury them if he quit his addic­tions, but every­one around him seemed to be in a quandary about the mon­sters and their rights and the dark impact they were having…the mon­sters were everywhere.”

An accom­plished author, film­maker, artist, and actor, West depicts this macabre world with style and dark humor. The impact is height­ened by the intro­duc­tion, in which West makes clear that Gary Hack’s demons have been his own,too, and that the most ter­ri­ble mon­sters are not the ones stalk­ing the night, but those lodged in the human heart.

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