Saturday, October 25, 2014
Dark Corners (Fall 2014 issue) edited by CT McNeely, Emily McNeely and Steve Gallagher
(pb; pulp fiction magazine/anthology: Fall 2014, Vol. 1 Issue 1)
Excellent two hundred and fifty-nine-page anthology that got published as a pulp magazine - it's got a bit of everything for lovers of this genre: stories, novella segments, book reviews and author interviews. While not all of the thirty-seven pieces struck me as wonderful - there were a few, disappointments I chalk up to my personal preferences - I could see why the McNeelys and Gallagher published them. If future issues of this magazine-anthology are this exceptional and gut-punch effective, this will be a read-every-issue publication.
1.) "Company Man" - Tom Pitts: A hit man (Jerry) offers to show a new-to-crime associate (Rico) an imaginative way to do a job. Well-written, effective finish.
2.) "Short and Choppy" - Will Viharo: Grisly, sexually explicit and brutal story about a dwarf (Cameron) whose hatred for his writing teacher (Sean) and lust for Sean's wife (Sabrina) leads Cameron toward some fantastically violent actions. Excellent, black-hearted and noirish laugh-out-loud tale.
3.) "Domestic Tableau" - Warren Moore: An adolescent's life of crime and drug addiction place him and his family in desperate and dangerous situations. There are some nice twists at the end, with a clever, theme-appropriate mention of the band Queensrÿche as a story-layer element (for those familiar with their early-to-mid-career music).
4.) "The Husband Killers" - Deborah Lacy: During the live taping of a popular morning show, a man dies on camera, the apparent victim of poisoning. Detective Jocelyn Reed, at the scene of the crime, has to weed out the killer or killers from a large group of people - most of whom have sufficient motives to want the man dead. This is a good, attention-holding read.
5.) "Adele" - Vito Racanelli: Immediately involving tale about a cop (Sommers) who stabs his cleaver-slashing wife (Adele) in self-defense while the only witness - her latest lover, a junkie - escapes. Now, Sommers must track down the junkie before Sommers gets sent to prison. There aren't a lot of surprises in "Adele," but it's well-written.
6.) "Next to Nothing" - Sam Wiebe: A private investigator (John Wakeland) tries to talk down an old acquaintance (Mr. Jacks) after Jacks - grieving for his dead son, Wakeland's friend - gets violent with sharp objects in his motel room.
Excellent, memorable, horrific and humane (if bleak) work, one that sensitive animal lovers might want to skip.
7.) "The Natanhala Kidnapping" - Gary L. Robbe: Disturbing, effective story about old friends who resurrect an outdated ritual of kidnapping each other on their honeymoons - only this time, the ritual goes south in an irrevocable way.
8.) "Off, Park and Up" - Martin Zeigler: An OCD-addled, cineaste encounters agitating delays on his all-important "Movie Day." Laugh out loud funny (in a dark way, of course), tone-effective work.
9.) "Will Viharo: Unsung Hero of the Pulps" (article) - CT McNeely: Excellent, succinct overview of, and appreciation for, Viharo's work and his in-the-flesh contributions to the pulp and cinematic genres. A man of many talents, Viharo deserves to be recognized for what he's done and this is a worthy salute to the man.
10.) "John D. MacDonald's The Executioners" (book review) - Reviewed by Dyer Wilk: MacDonald's 1957 novel, which brought into being two films, both titled Cape Fear (one in 1962, the other - a remake - in 1991) gets its worthwhile due once again. Good, smart review.