Christopher Minori’s anthology of short stories, Dirty Little Secrets is a fun set of stories, each one bringing classic themes of horror and speculative fiction out for a new stroll through you mind. While none of the stories offer a truly groundbreaking story, they do what they set out to do; they entertain.
Minori is from the mold of writers whose craft has been molded through thought experiments of other stories and how they can be twisted into a new tale. The results can be stale at times and brilliant at others.
My favorite stories from this anthology are Father’s Request and The Hummel Store, which is strange for me as they are also ghost stories. I generally do not prefer ghost stories, but I thought these two were Minori’s best efforts. What made these, and A Pound of Flesh, work so well is that the characters in these stories were built to a more acute angle and made whole. While other stories in the book fall short as the characters are made shallow or are cartoon parodies of real people.
While I am often a fan of satire, I think Minori’s style tends to be better when dealing with serious topics. The several comedic pieces in the book fell short for me.
All in all, this was a fun read. Elements of the old Twilight Zones lurk in these pages. Give it a shot.
Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, is not the dark wizard his father is, but he clearly has a bit of his father’s flare in him. The Fireman is a very interesting story. The initial story is pretty ridiculous, but the characters are wonderful, and the action builds to an inferno. I would give this one 3 out of 5. Worth a look if you have the time and the inclination.
Duma Key has, since it’s publication, been one of King’s most disliked books. The reasons are fairly clear. It is a book with a monster story thrown in because that is what King likes to do, but the other story of healing on a personal retreat and finding a hidden talent as a coping mechanism is the far more compelling story.
So in this mess of a story, King tells us a story that is both very human and quite personal and then ties it with a fantastical, mystical story that is far fetched and really kind of stupid. But that is what makes King the master he is. King can create characters and tell us about our lives like nobody else, and then he brings the dark.
I recommend this one. I give it a 4 out of 5. It is far from King’s best, and far from his worst too, but it is a fun ride and I enjoyed seeing the worlds of realism and abstract combine on the canvas.
My new book is out and getting some great feedback. Right now, I really want to just get it out there more. I want to get this book in as many hands as possible. I just don’t know how to do it. I’m not a marketing guru and I certainly not a salesman. Hell, I’m an awkward glance away from being a recluse, three inches of beard away from being a hermit. So how should I go about getting this book out there?
I’ve decided a teaser is in order. The segment below is from chapter 1 It is where I introduce Angel, perhaps my favorite character I’ve ever written about.
So Dustin, after Israel fell and the virus spread (we call it a virus, everyone does, but the general public has no clue what it is. I am a part of the clueless general public.) said to me, “We need to start preparing to protect ourselves. We need to be ready for it when it hits state side.”
I agreed whole heartedly and got up to get another Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato with soy. When I returned, Dustin was gone. Angle was sitting where he had been. Angle is a sweet girl, but not a girl I or anybody had ever been sweet on, if you know what I mean. She is a Chinese American. Her face is Chinese (these are her words, her joke, not mine. I wouldn’t say this if it wasn’t how she described herself.), but her body was all American. Angle wasn’t round; she was a rhombus cube, like an eight-sided D&D dice. She often described herself as the square peg. Her real name was Angela, but she got the nickname Angle back when we were in college. I was pursuing a history degree, Dustin was pursuing media communications, and Angle was pursuing teaching and became a geometry teacher at a nearby high school. Now Angle has two meanings. Go figure. Irony was so much better before the zombies. Now nobody takes time to appreciate the ironic.
“Nobody takes time to appreciate the ironic anymore,” I said.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Angle can’t curse at the school, so for the first hour after arriving at the coffee shop, she is a vulgarian to make Eddie Murphy blush.
“I just told the barista that my name was Bob Upperton.”
Angle looked at me like I was dachshund pissing on her pillow. “What the fuck does that mean? Are you fucking retarded? That’s not even irony, you brainless cow fucker.” None of this was said with any malice or with any desire to offend. That’s just Angle’s way after school. She really is a sweet person.
“So how was your day?”
“Like being stuck in a colostomy bag with Gilbert Godfrey.”
That should give you a feel for the kind of story it is. Thank you for reading.
The Monk is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror novels ever. I don’t think it lived up to its reputation. I think the book shocked people back when it was written because people didn’t speak ill of monks and priests. Priests were revered as holy men. Since that time, priests have fallen from societies graces. I would sooner trust my daughter in the hands of your average beggar than with a priest (an un-average beggar). Starting the book with a view that most priests are sexual predators at the worst and sexual deviants at the best, I didn’t see anything shocking in the slightest in the entire book. I would say, if you own the book and don’t want to dredge through the entire thing, read the last 25 pages. It is the most action in the whole book and really a great ending.
The thing that struck me most was the way the book is told. The drum that is beat loudest in creative writing circles is to always show the story, not tell it. Lewis basically runs the gambit of he said-she said for the whole of the book. Styles change, and perhaps when it was written it was the style of the day, but it was a poor example of a well written book in today’s terms.
The time is finally upon us for my long awaited new book to finally launch. It is different than anything I have ever written before, and I hope everyone enjoys it, but I know not everyone will. This is a book of brutal political satires. If you are still holding to a love of Trump, you may find this is not a book for you. It may also have offensive language and ideas in it, depending upon your world views. Keep in mind that it is a comedy book about a zombie apocalypse, and only should be taken seriously as a social commentary.
Keep Your eyes open. The zombies might be coming! Or maybe not. FOX says that there are no zombies in America.
There are No Zombies in America
Even when King is off, I still find him to be the best. This one is a miss for the master. This is the second book in the Bill Hodges/Mr. Mercedes Trilogy. It is the story of Morris Bellamy, a fan of a JD Salinger type of writer, but imagine if Salinger had turned Holden Caulfield into a sell-out advertisement agent before he stopped writing. You may not be outraged by the indignation, but Bellamy was. He was driven completely insane by the idea, driven to the point of murder. Bellamy’s monomaniacal fan-boydom is the driving force behind the book. While I would say it is a miss, I enjoyed the hell out of it and would still recommend it with gusto. I look forward to reading book three.