Sunday, 21 October 2012

Season of the Macabre - Damien Kelly

Clarion Publishing
Publication Date: March 17th 2012

4 stars

Short stories for the winter season and the open minded.
An eclectic collection, ranging from a calculating little boy to a murderous wife. I enjoyed the mixture of stories as much as the authenticity of the writing which changed tone beautifully with each character: an upset little boy from Washington, a cynical and sassy pathologist, a stressed and busy Vicar’s wife with a secret. 

My only wish would have been to have even more sting in the tale of each story. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Shuffle – Richard Blandford

The Publisher: The Big Hand 
Publication Date: 4 Oct 2012

4 stars
This is one of the best collections of short stories I have read since Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch.
 A pastiche of postmodernist styles -  as the title explains - that take the reader on a swooping read through a range of subjects from art, sex, relationships, religion, the afterlife, science and social networking.
There are recurrent themes of bullying, rejection and guilt and fantastic dives into surrealism with ideas that could quite possibly happen in our information bombarded society, a society obsessed with the supernatural and the work hard/reward system. People stricken with a virus that makes them speak with the voice of Tom Baker, the spirits of the dead taking over the world’s digital media and astral projection of the sexual kind with dire consequences. Satire, irony, a glut of escapism.

Richard Blandford writes with a clear bold voice. This is frontline innovative writing, leaping out over the top and shaming all the dross in no man’s land. I devoured these stories in one galumphing read. More please.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hotel Noir - Casper Silk

Publication Date: 15th November 2012
Publisher: Pale Fire Press

4 stars
Hotel Noir isn’t a novel you can shamble through, intellect at half mast.
It commands your attention, draws you into the seedy and jaded environment of an island sliding from past glory into poverty and narcotic hell. Honestly, I found the characters revolting, even Francis with his twisted morality. I wanted to pounce on these apathetic lost souls and start by giving them a good wash. 
That is how powerful the writing of Casper Silk is.
Don’t expect comfort. Don’t expect the meaning of life with a happy advertising jingle. This novel is saturated with loss, the heaviness of daily life and routine, addiction, prostitution, guilt and blackmail. Peel off that first layer to find more dirt underneath.
If you want a dark and turbulent read through the underbelly of an island’s lost dreams, this is it, exquisitely written.