Friday, May 13, 2011
5 Horror Shorts
Available as an e-book from Amazon
If you like horror short story collections that leave you wanting more from the author, then this book is for you.
Gerald Rice has crafted 5 short horror stories in this one volume, which I found to be very well crafted. I read it in one sitting, which is rare for me, so that should give you some indication about how good the writing is.
The first story is "First Customer", and Rice builds a sense of urgency mixed with dread, leading up to a surprising ending. Murray has achieved his dream of opening an outdoorsmans store and is all set for a first day of business. We end up going somewhere I didn't expect and it sure wasn't where I thought we were headed. I like that in a story and Rice didn't telegraph his conclusion.
The second story, "Goner", is a zombie tale that was completely compelling. Written from the main character's point of view, we're along for the ride through a zombie-infested landscape. We get to see how Terence handles extermination and elimination of said zombies. There are some close calls and a satisfying ending. I won't forget the stuffed penguin for a while.
"While You Work" is a gruesome excursion into the workplace, giving new meaning to "us" and "them". My nose kept twitching after I read it. You'll find out why.
"Mister Cumberland's Last Magic Show" was my favorite, even over the zombie tale.
Floyd Cumberland is a stage magician unlike any other you've run into and I really wanted more. The enigmatic Malf, Mr. Cumberland's assistant turns into something quite a bit more by the story's end, and the story as a whole gives new meaning to "what you see might be what you get."
This story is crying out to be made into a full-fledged book, in my opinion.
The last of the five, "Things You Never Say" has us along for a road trip with a couple who may or may not be getting along as well as they should. They come upon an accident and the tone of the story shifts somewhat.
It makes you think twice about being short with the ones you claim to love and care for.
Gerald Rice has a great writing style. The stories move well, there are some terrific turns of phrase and they read quickly without bogging down. Short stories are short for a reason and need to establish mood and setting fairly quickly to promote the action and Rice succeeds at juggling all these particular balls at one time.
He sites Stephen King and Al Sarrantonio as influences and I can see that quite plainly, though Rice has honed his own voice in these 5 stories.
Rice has written some full novels as well as Goners, and there is a second Goners volume as well. I look forward to reading more of Rice's work in the future, and that's a great thing to say about an author just starting out.
For more information on Gerald Rice, please visit:
Facebook Gerald Rice Fan Page
The Ghost Toucher