Reviewed July 2020
What a gloriously grim collection of adult perspectives on adolescence!
Three great stories. Well written, strongly integrated, entertaining even. They are all, in a sense, coming of age stories – although (spoiler alert) not quite all of the youngsters actually make it.
The scenarios are extreme. There is murder, human sacrifice even, depravity, abuse, cruelty, mutilation. All the same, I recognize these adolescents – for all their horrifying deeds and desperate dramas, they still seem to be everyboy, everygirl. Adolescence is always going to be a bit of a maelstrom in which every terrifying force of human nature erupts out of the deep. Just like it’s also going to be a bit of a tedious doldrum, a waiting-room for adulthood in which fast-car ambitions have to settle for bicycle-powered constraints. (I loved the metaphor in that scene…) And it’s also always going to be a time when the adult-gods of childhood get dismantled. Parents in particular. The adults in these stories are empty people, most of them – variously drunk, stuporous, depressed, deluded, hateful, adulterous, irrelevant, treacherous. One of them – as if it were necessary to solidify the caricature – is actually catatonic and brain damaged. (Did I get them all? Maybe not – I lost count of their pathologies after a while.) No wonder these kids went off the rails: I blame the parents… Then I look in the mirror.
The genre of this collection is perfect for these adult look-backs at adolescence: dark-crime-gothic-horror captures the anxt of the adolescent and the cruelty of their peer groups, while the arch, gently humorous style brings a knowing adult quality. Though some of the action was hard to stomach, I liked the kids in these stories, most of them. But there is only one (I’m not telling you which – I’ve done enough spoiling!) who struck me as likely to turn into a viable adult, capable of carrying a decent torch for children of his own. Mostly, just like I did, these kids are going to turn into their parents, and the picture isn’t pretty.
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This review was undertaken as part of a Blackthorn Book Tour
ABOUT THE THREE AUTHORS
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking time travel/space adventure, Crossline, the SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, editor of the SF mystery anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, and co-author of the noir anthology Murder in Montague Falls, all with Crazy 8 Press.
He is now finalizing Crackle and Fire, the first in a new scifi mystery series featuring his intergalactic private eye, Angela Hardwicke, set for publication September 2020.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, Badass Moms, and Brave New Girls.
Russ is repped by The Zack Compnay.
Sawney Hatton is an author, editor, and screenwriter. Other incarnations of Sawney have produced marketing videos, attended all-night film festivals, and played the banjo and sousaphone (not at the same time). He loves a good day trip into the unknown.
To learn more about Sawney, visit his website at SawneyHatton.com
Patrick Thomas writes the beloved fantasy humor series Murphy’s Lore, and wrote the graphic novel Case of the Moon Maniac and the steampunk themed As The Gears Turn. His short stories have been featured in over fifty anthologies and more than three dozen print magazines.
A number of his books were part of the props department of the CSI television show and one was even thrown at a suspect. Fairy With A Gun was optioned by Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Act of Contrition, a story featuring his Soul For Hire hitman is in development for a short film by Top Men Productions.
Drop by www.patthomas.net to learn more.