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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: Killer Space Clown by Eli Taff, Jr.

Happy Halloween! In honor of the creepiest day of the year, I’m delighted to share with you a creepy collection of very short stories that offer the perfect tidbit of eerie hair-raising to get you in the holiday spirit (pun intended)…

As you know if you read my blog/reviews regularly, I have a love-hate thing with short stories: love the concept (quick reads), hate the usual reality (the character development that I think is so central to my enjoyment of a story is usually MIA because of the format). I’ve found some exceptions, most notably in collections that are tied to series books because the characterization and backstory already exist in the author’s universe, so the quick and singularly-focused format allows the author to focus on a discrete perspective or event without needing to take the time to explain the who and why behind it all. Well today, I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve discovered another way to enjoy shorts without sacrificing the enjoyment of the unfolding character/world building, and that is through interconnected shorts. I don’t know why more authors don’t do this, by the way – it seems like such a brilliant way to build a world and then focus on the action and allow for a LOT of cool stuff to come out without the hundreds of pages of connectors necessary to tie them into one cohesive tale. That is, in fact, why the author said he wrote the book as he did. I’ll say it again: Brilliant!

This is a collection of flash fiction pieces that on one hand feels like an author’s very detailed precis for the high-points of a novel at the same time that it feels like a compilation of nightmare trips inside someone else’s seriously twisted head… And I mean both of those in the best possible way. There are separate characters and plots, but by the time you get to the middle, you start to see where the linkages lie. They’re loose, like meat falling off the bone, and exceptionally enjoyable (like well-cooked meat, if you’ll pardon the analogy) because they’re easy to digest and absolutely deliciously dark. I liked the way it all (sort of) tied together and overlapped. The flash fiction format left a lot up to the imagination of the reader, but the overlaps gave just enough structure that I could do that without feeling like I was making things up as I went along. It got me thinking about connections and where things might go and that made it one of the most enjoyable shorts experiences I’ve had as a result. Well played, that… And it gave me some ideas about reviving some of my own fiction and taking it down a different path. Also well played, and immensely helpful on top of that.

If you’re looking for a creepy-ass scare that you can read in one sitting, this is a great place to start. And maybe if we’re lucky, the positive feedback will send Taff back to the typewriter (ha, as if anyone writes on a typewriter anymore – but “back to the laptop” just doesn’t sound as good) for more intertwined adventures from his deviously dark and twisty imagination… If nothing else, he owes us more books so we can see more covers – how awesomely twisted and marvelously shivery is this one?! It was the first thing that drew me in!

Many thanks to the author for my review copy.

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