Inside Out by Will Elliott
Inside Out by Will Elliott is stand-alone novel where a man's brain provides the canvas for a trippy adventure through the world of cults and brainwashing. It is similar in style to his previous release Nightfall, and while it may not have the same emotional impact, the story is more comedic and, in my opinion, far more accessible.
The story follows Denton, a young directionless man who is meandering through life without much hope or purpose. After a very angry moment where he flies off the handle in a road-rage incident, he is brought to his senses and "rescued" by a very sexy member of a religious sect (cult). Denton is invited to join, the brainwashing begins, and when the cult leaders realise Denton is worth a fortune, they hatch a plan to liberate him from his piles of money. The only obstacle for the cult leaders to overcome are the people who live inside Denton's head. They can see something bad is coming, and they will do what it takes to save themselves and Denton.
What you need to get your head around, and this is something that Elliott does with ease, is that Denton's brain provides the setting for half of this story. The world of Denton's brain is separated into distinct sections, with the logic centre and emotions downstairs, the dreams and imagination upstairs, and the conscious level represented by a supreme being living above the clouds. The people who populate this world are personifications of the different aspects that would make up your brain, with Mr Scott (logic), The Dream Master (dreams), Len (fear), and Wetpatch (libido) the major players. They all work together to help Denton run his life, assimilate information, and make decisions, something that they have had mixed success with given Denton's lot in life. This is a unique and fascinating method of storytelling - the viewpoint frequently shifts between Denton (outside) and his brain (inside), and you get to see how the actions of one impacts the other.
What really makes this book stand out is the humour. It is a dry humour, sometimes slapstick, sometimes observational, and often offensive in that South Park style of comedy. When Denton sees an attractive person, Wetpatch starts to run wild through his brain, leaving a sticky mess wherever he goes. The characters are one-dimensional, but that is the entire point as they represent singular aspects of the brain, and Elliott uses this to his advantage by putting these one dimensional characters in awkward situations that would easy to solve if they could just think outside of their tightly defined boundaries. Elliott also uses this book to provide some interesting satirical social commentary on the nature of organised religions and the importance of material wealth, and he somehow manages to deliver this commentary without biased or preachy.
The one thing that was missing for me in this book, compared to Elliott's previous books, was the emotional impact. While I easily became invested in Denton's story, it was more fascination rather than an emotional investment. I didn't really care what happened to Denton because I was more interested in how his actions would impact the world inside his brain. This is still a great feeling for a story to evoke, but my experience with Elliott's previous stories included this fascination alongside a massive emotional impact slugging me in the side of the jaw. I think this may have been the cost of making the book more accessible to a wider audience.
I really enjoyed Inside Out. It is the type of story that offers something interesting and unique, which is a valuable commodity in a genre that is often accused of being repetitive. While it may not be my favourite Elliott story, it is still a lot better than a lot of other stuff out there. Will Elliott is guy who takes risks with his storytelling, and the genre is better for it.
This Inside Out book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read Inside Out?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Inside Out reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
John Cleaver series
I Am Not A Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial kil...
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the...
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be ...
Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been th...
Cinema of Shadows
Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace. The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business... and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony fu...
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions...
After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current-high-priced ...
The Temple of the Last Days. The brutal cult with a history of murder, sex and occult dealings destroyed itself during one night of ritualistic violence decades ago. Or so ...
Devourer of Souls
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An anci...
Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s neve...
Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth
Respected horror anthologist Stephen Jones edits this collection of 17 stories inspired by the 20th century’s master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shad...
Black Wings of Cthulhu 4
Through his collaborations with today's most talented and acclaimed practitioners of Lovecraftian fiction, editor S. T. Joshi has made the Black Wings of Cthulhu series...
Under the Dome
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force fi...
House of Small Shadows
Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get he...
The Turn of the Screw
One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of un...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spe...
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the ...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer's legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the was...
A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside ti...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...