Secondly, that Manc feller Col Bury has grafted some more and swept up a pile of grit and put it to pages again with a new collection. You can grab it here.
Even though he's now got an iMac and keeps buggering it up, the words they keep on flowing. A new Joe Hunter short has battered its way to freedom, grab it here. And don't be forgetting the new novel Rules of Honor, grab it here. I'd suggest shoplifting it from Waterstones but they're a big bunch of cunts and don't stock it. It seems you've got to be dead for a ton score years, or write about Vampires who go out in daylight and sparkle to get some shufty room on their shelves.
Now for the review. It's about 6 months late, but we all know I'm one of the laziest people ever. I now have a little dedicated office that's all mine, should mean I'm more productive, nah bollocks, there's a tree in the garden and all I can think about is seventeen different ways to climb it, so I have thje blinds down.
Gathering Darkness by Chris Allinotte. The man is one of the nicest writers I've met, never seems to have a bad word for anyone. In that way he kind of reminds me of the intro to the late Richard Laymon's Fiends written by Dean Koontz where Mr. Koontz basically said you wouldn't expect words and sentences quite like it from the man himself. I think Chris is a bit like that, nice family guy, stand-up person in general, but leaves all that in a puddle at the door of his writing room/brain.
The review is gonna be done over two posts. You could just skip what I think and buy it here.
The collection starts off with a previously unpublished tale called, 'Coming Home' and within a few lines you know it's going to be a stonker. Chris has this ability to take a seemingly normal thing like a tattoo and use it to help set the level of emotion his wants from his readers, it's only a tattoo yet it looks depressed which then makes you automatically think, 'If the tattoo's a bit fucked up then how fucked up is the bearer of the ink?'
And within a few more sentences you forget you're even reading it and swept away with the pace. It's the realism of the characters, Ty, his busted up life and junkie girlfriend. He stays away from simple stereotypes, or preaching and lets you see to the heart of the matter and their failings. That's where the normality ends and the true fucked-up world of the Allinotte comes stampeding out baying for blood.
Next is Sex and Beer, another little treat for me as I never read this one when it premièred. Said I missed it then but chuffed to have found it now. The good thing about Chris as a writer is his skill to tell a tale with great pose but he doesn't shy away from being vulgar, which is how I like my fiction, the gent of this story after realising he didn't have a rubber, so this was his reasoning – He'd pull it out and pop on that perfect back of hers, or something. Pure class.
Bones of Contention - A quarter of a page in and a grin came to me dial. One of the many things Chris does well is character interaction, believable character interaction at that, especially when the characters in question aren't exactly mature. A few more lines in and you just know the shit has hit the fan. The ability to introduce a fucked up scenario and make the reader think nothing of it is great. He doesn't feel the need to give a shit-load of back story, just drops you in it. Now I'm pausing and hoping to God above that this isn't a Bromance...or worse 50 Shades of Gay...Phew nope.
The Doll Maker and the Rat – If there's one thing Allinotte isn't it's that he's not frightened to experiment with his writing. This one is going to be either weird and wonderful, or just weird and leave me wondering if I somehow missed something along the way. it's good if not a little fucked up, but hey, fucked up works.
Devil's Night – Two teens out for some shenanigans. Bog-rolling houses and trashing peoples pumpkins, all harmless fun...until they pick the wrong house to fuck with. There's some great banter between the two main characters. I'm glad I never went trick-or-treating to this blokes house.
Pick Your Own Pumpkin – Introducing Detective Blackwood. Pumpkins holding the body parts of a farmer's wife. This one was sharp as it was short.
Newpaper Hat – A dark and lyrical bit of poetry.
Kittens for Sale – You kinda got the feeling of what was going to happen, but the story flowed so well you swam along with it. The ending leaving you with a very real sense of sorrow. Definitely one of the more emotional pieces.
The Moustache – There's the ability to come up with insane weirdness and then there's this. I can't even begin to fathom how the hell he came up with this story. Definitely one of my favourites in the collection.
The Sins of the Past – Noir'ish and smooth with a subtle helping of the supernatural.
Part Two Soon'ish