Day 43: February 10, 2019
THE MERRY-GO ROUND MAN by Gary Brandner
Fear Itself – 1995
Horror – 10 Pages
This one takes strides to build up an emotional pull, using the family structure and a death of a loved member. Life goes on and irrational fear concerning that loss turns out to be not so irrational after all. It’s a very versatile horror vehicle and Brandner employs it well. Good emotion. Good suspense. Good twisting of reality.
Day 44: February 11, 2019
THE VILLAGER by Shirley Jackson
The Lottery and Other Stories – 1949
General – 7 Pages
This one seems half-cooked, like there should be something more or some revelation or something, anything. Instead, you’ve got a woman not correcting a man of her identity with nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Engaging in the way all stories written by Shirley Jackson are engaging, but then it’s over and sparked little of anything in this reader.
Day 45: February 12, 2019
THE LAST DAY by Richard Matheson
Duel – 2003 (story originally published in Amazing, 1953)
Science Fiction – 18 Pages
The world is ending and the people of the world are going nuts. Not often does a story this old open on a passed out orgy, and typically the debauchery is skimmed a little more thoroughly, but here we have a glimpse of the panic and desire for one last ride. From there, the author offers up the street and murderous hooligans, then the homestead, before the mama’s boy and his mama chill on the porch to watch the world burn. This story reeled me in and put me through the motions. Absolutely fantastic. Top five apocalypse shorts I’ve ever read, easy.
Day 46: February 13, 2019
MONSTERS by Stephen Graham Jones
The Ones That Got Away – 2010 (story originally published in Niteblade, 2009)
Horror – 13 Pages
The backdrop for this one is a bit Lost Boys (I’m thinking so anyhow, I’ve never been to a popular beach at nighttime, so maybe I don’t know and that’s what happens at them: boardwalks, bands, undead). You’ve got a boy and a girl and a big former police dog, I won’t give away the twisty bit by describing much further, but the dog bites an evil dude and sets off some bad stuff happening. Engaging, suspenseful, scary.
Day 47: February 14, 2019
DIAGNOSIS DEAD by N.J. Cooper
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July 2012
Crime – 2 Pages
A fantastic bit of flash. I was starting to predict near the end, but still, much, much fun. A little bit suspenseful, a little bit twisty, a whole bunch of smiling upon conclusion.
Day 48: February 15, 2019
MOMMY by Max Allan Collins
Fear Itself – 1995
Suspense – 21 Pages
Helicopter mommy always gets what she wants. This is established from the offset and lines everything together in a fairly predictable course. Banking on the easy emotion of the pure, angelic, one-dimensional little child, the suspense has merit, but not much depth. Of course the reader cares about the kid when mom’s gone bananas, and the ending, talk about convenient. Though, there’s one pretty cool line that ties things up a bit, certainly not a bad story.
Day 49: February 16, 2019
WITH GRAVEYARD WEEDS AND WOLFBANE SEEDS by Seanan McGuire
Haunted Nights – 2017
Horror – 19 Pages
This is one of those stories you see coming a thousand miles away and you stick around to see which variation of your expectation plays out. Cool imagery and good writing, but that the kids are walking into lion’s den is the only possibility and not having another option really softened any potential blow.
Favorite of the week...going to have to go to Richard Matheson, once again, for THE LAST DAY.