Day 50: February 17, 2019
THE GRAY MADONNA by Graham Masterton
Fear Itself – 1995
Horror – 15 Pages
Stick with me…using shifted understandings of Christian mythology, bad stuff happens and the general consensus whispers what it might’ve been but refuses to tell the husband of a dead woman in a market in Belgium. Later, the husband returns for answers and finds them, though things don’t really tack together well, like if using Christianity, shouldn’t the answer include that, a punishment or whatever? This one doesn’t. It’s all disconnected, no motive. Still, entertaining enough.
Day 51: February 18, 2019
A TASTE OF THE OLD COUNTRY by Jonathan Maberry
Haunted Nights – 2017
Horror – 25 Pages
Where this one was going was pretty obvious from the onset. You have the men faking Argentinian and talking about the war with a stranger from Austria trying to gain their trust. It’s drawn out and the meal prepared by the man inviting the Nazis to dinner is told in great detail. The characters are good, but it seemed a bit too much of them, I mean when the end is obvious (to a point), stretching the middle like this is excessive. That said, comeuppance and revenge are never without an audience of willing eyes.
Day 52: February 19, 2019
WOLF ISLAND by Stephen Graham Jones
The Ones That Got Away – 2010 (story originally published in Juked, 2009)
Horror – 11 Pages
Almost never do you start a Stephen Graham Jones story and after that first page or two, guess where it’s going to end up. This is one fits again. One element comes quickly to the forefront with some simple math, but how it plays out is a bit of a marvel...like how’d he get to that? Really cool follow through. Wildly original.
Day 53: February 20, 2019
HIS DAUGHTER’S ISLAND by Brendan DuBois
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – July 2012
Crime – 12 Pages
The classic someone did wrong to a girl in my life, I must avenge them…kind of beat to death, but this one had a bit of a difference. The man character is the father of a dead teenager. She’d gone to a rich kid party and never left thanks to booze and pills and a rich boy who’d been whisked off to Europe after what happened had happened. Rather than Dad going Liam Neeson, he goes US Army (minus the civilian casualties) vs Noriega with tunes. It has some fun moments, but there’s not much to it. Zero suspense. No great aha moment. Kind of slow.
Day 54: February 21, 2019
PERFECT WITNESS by Rick Hautala
Fear Itself – 1995
Horror – 13 Pages
This is a disjointed and foggy one, the readers sees clearer about a step faster than the main character, but only a step, which lends a good level of suspense to the proceedings (ha! ‘cause it’s in a courtroom). Though the story was pretty great, I could’ve gone for a step further in the end, but also it seemed built up just to sidestep manufactured expectations. Clever and it reads like something a seasoned writer might get more out of (bending expectations, smart pacing, good reveals) than the general readership who have expectations.
Day 55: February 22, 2019
THOSE ARE BROTHERS by Nancy Hale
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in Mademoiselle, 1942)
General – 8 Pages
This one is a like a snapshot of intertwining realities in a difficult world. You’ve got men and women who want things, but are willing to settle for some dignity (though no less). The subject of the Holocaust is broached willy-nilly by a pompous American that cuts so realistically with how the privileged upper classes act now when concerning the depths of struggle they cannot and care not to imagine. The dialogue in this point really was something...the easy ignorance of it. There’s a fun come around ending too that might’ve at the time, been the important or selling factor, but in stretched scope of seventy-seven-ish years passing, that bit of dialogue was really something.
Day 56: February 23, 2019
WHAT DO YOU DO IN SAN FRANSICO? by Raymond Carver
Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in 1963)
General – 9 Pages
The nosey neighborhood mail carrier doesn’t like the way those new beatniks live their lives. As was his way, Carver takes the everyday, explores it in an everyday voice, and somehow it’s utterly intriguing. This one was very short and fun, a snapshot without great depth or reason.
Favorite of the week was THOSE ARE BROTHERS by Nancy Hale, and really, it was the vibe and weight of a dialogue exchange.