Saturday, March 31, 2007
It's been such a week,
I've been too pooped to log. Haven't even gotten much writing in this week. Will
try to remedy that this weekend. 'Course, now I'm pooped because I just mowed
the yard. How come that hill keeps getting a little steeper every year?
Phred is set to come over tonight for dinner and a movie. I think it'll be
Casino Royale, which I haven't watched yet this week.
And it's time for another archiving of The Log. Mercy.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I did my part to
pervert contribute to higher education today by visiting my
Golda's creative writing class at Guilford Tech to talk about the world of
publishing and the business of writing. It turned out to be very enjoyable, with
perhaps twenty students, all of whom struck me as very receptive. The questions
were thoughtful and relevant not just of the "where do you get your ideas?"
variety. I don't mind handling presentations in classrooms when the students are
there because they want to be, rather than because the law says they have to be
or because Mom and Dad thought it would be a good idea. I've suffered through a
few stints with young kids in my time, and I'd just as soon be thrown into a
cage filled with deranged scorpions.
A couple of interesting surprises. One was that the son of one of my coworkers
was in the class. The other was that my brother
Phred's good friend Kristi is also a prof there. Who knew? So after the
class, the three of us went to lunch at the Saigon restaurant, one of the best
bets around for Vietnamese chow. Given the monstrous workload I've been having
to deal with at the office, it was one helluva welcome break. I hope the class
got something worthwhile out of it; I, at least, got an excellent lunch.
Wednesday, March 21,
Sometimes I miss the
days of making prank phone calls.
When I was between the ages of 10 and 15, give
or take a decade or so, I was the diehard crank caller. Generally just harmless
fun you know, of the "I'm lost at the supermarket and I can't find my momma"
ilk. Now and again, I made calls that made me feel bad later, such as when I
presented myself as "Mother Bell" from radio station WDUM and promised the
call recipient ten dollars for saying "hello" when he or she answered the phone. I got a
lot of mailing addresses that way, and it grieves me to think that people were
once so trusting. Needless to say, they never received a penny, and for this
particular sin, I
flagellated myself appropriately in later years. Or at least I allowed my wife
My favorite, though, was a series of calls I made in the summer and fall of
1973. I was 14 years old and was learning that I had inherited my dad's temper.
Unlike Dad, I sometimes enjoyed acting on it and paying back tenfold certain
people who offended me.
There was once a woman called the Pinocchio Lady. I found her by misdialing my
friend Charles's phone number. When she answered, I thought it was his mother,
so I asked for Charles. "Charles?!" exploded a very cranky, high-pitched, nasal
voice. "There ain't no Charles here. And don't you ever, ever call
this number again."
Ah. A challenge. Well, I called back the number I thought perhaps I had
dialed by mistake, and sure enough, that was it. "Oh, it's you again!" she
wailed. "I TOLD YOU TO NOT CALL HERE!"
"You sound like you have a really big nose," I said. "Are you the Pinocchio
"Pinocchio lady? I don't know what that is. You hang up RIGHT NOW and don't you EVER
call back here again!"
Guess who called the Pinocchio lady day in and day out for many weeks. Yes, and when
I told my friend Charles about this, he happily joined in the fun. We took turns
calling and recording them with my little Lloyds cassette tape recorder.
Usually, I'd start out pleasant, with something like, "Hello, have I reached the
E****'s residence?" When the affirmative reply came, I'd holler, "No, I haven't!
I've reached the Pinocchio lady!" One time, I told the poor woman I was going to
cut off her long nose with a cross-cut saw, and that was how I learned some of
the words that I use today when I'm really peeved.
Finally, one day, a gruff male answered. When I asked if he was the
Pinocchio man, he said that he actually wasn't, but that he was going to
have the phone tapped so he could find out who we "damned little pests" were. That
scared me a little, so I didn't call back for a couple of days.
Eventually, we grew tired of this sport and moved on to calling the parents of
kids we didn't like and telling them that their children had stolen some copies
of Playboy magazine from the local newsstand and hidden them under their
mattresses. (I have no idea how many of them actually got caught with hidden
copies of Playboy).
Over a decade later, when I lived in Chicago, one day, just on a whim, I dialed
the Pinocchio lady's number (it was still firmly etched into my memory, and I
still remember it to this day), and when Mrs. E****'s familiar voice answered, I
almost...almost...followed through with the cruel quip, "Hey, Pinocchio
lady. Remember me? I'm out now!"
But I didn't. Some wee smidgen of maturity had taken a bit of the pleasure out
of injecting a little misery into some innocent person's life.
If Mrs. E**** is still alive (something tells me she's not, as she sounded not
only big-nosed but rather old back in the 70s and 80s), she does have my
sincerest apology. I was just a kid doing what kids do, and sometimes that's not
Of course, there's always the possibility that, on some level, she had as much
fun being a Pinocchio lady as we had turning her into one. I rather hope so.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I had no plans for St. Patrick's Day, but some really nice plans overtook me. My bestest best friends, the Albaneses, called me up and invited me over for martinis (with jalapeno-stuffed olives, so we did have green consumables) to watch their brand-new HD DVD of Carpenter's The Thing (which I haven't seen in about 15 years) on their big-ass HD TV. God! The picture! The sound! The great lines ("Is that...uh...a...man in there?")! The DVD is loaded with extras too, and we watched most of 'em.
Regrettably, Peg was not feeling up to accompanying me, but after a long stretch of stressful days, friends, drinks, and horror on St. Pat's was just what the doctor ordered.
Friday, March 16, 2007
After a long and ridiculous bitch of a day (and
week) at the office, I enjoyed the hell out of going to dinner with my former
co-worker, talented writer, and all-around good friend,
Gina Farago, as well as the banes of my existence,
Terry Bane. We et at
Phoenix, an almost-Asian place with decent atmosphere that makes very good
dirty martinis and a fair Thai chicken with basil. The fresh spring rolls were
In the writing news, I have decided to step down from the lineup at
Storytellers Unplugged, as I feel like I've pretty much tapped out the well
of essays that I absolutely, postively, really, really needed to write. I don't
want to fill the column with fluff, nor do I care to spend an inordinate amount
of time devising something relatively meaningful when writing time is
already at such a premium. It's been a good, almost-two-year run, I've met some
fabulous folks among the Storytellers in-crowd, and I might have even
contributed an essay or two that led readers to believe there's nothing
seriously wrong with me after all. (Ha.) I'll still frequent the place, no
doubt, and maybe I'll contribute a guest column from time to time, if some
stubborn bit of inspiration refuses to allow otherwise. Anyway, I want to salute
all the writers who are and have been a part of Storytellers and acknowledge how
much many of the columns have meant to me in the two years since its inception.
Who knows...maybe I'll write more flash fiction.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Damned if I didn't sit down and write a 500-word
bit of flash fiction tonight. I'm generally disinclined to work at that length,
which struck me as the very best reason to do it. So I wrote the tale, "Megan,"
in about 25 minutes and sent it out.
Actually, the story started coming together this morning when I woke up. I had
scads of wicked, vivid dreams last night, and this tale is what came out of
them. Oddly, the story has nothing whatsoever to do with the dreams themselves,
except for the name of the main character. But they served to get my sluggish
brain working, which may or may not be a good thing.
If it sells, I will judge it a good thing.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Mercy, aren't I a happy boy! A great
double-feature arrived from Amazon.com today....
Sunday, March 11, 2007
It's been a trying few months. My wife, Peg, had surgery the day after Christmas for bone spurs in her shoulder and a reconstruction of a bad knee. Last month, my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to have a hysterectomy (which went well, and we believe there won't be any complications). This past week, we received the rather shocking news that my daughter, Allison, was hospitalized with a blood clot in her lung.
We got the news on Thursday afternoon, so that night, Peg and I drove up to Maryland, where Allison lives. We spent the past couple of days there with her and left last night. She is still in the hospital, but we expect her to be released probably on Monday. She's doing reasonably well, but is still in a lot of pain. The doctors believe that the clot is a result of her taking birth control and being a smoker evidently, not a good combination.
Her prognosis is generally good; she's on blood thinner to help dissolve the clot (and will be for the next few months) as well as high-powered painkillers, as this thing is quite excruciating and interferes with her breathing. The word is that there's only a minute chance that it will move and cause further damage, but needless to say, her mom and I remain concerned about that. On the good side, she's had excellent medical care, and we're fairly confident the worst of it is over.
Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers, if you would. The kid means the world to me.
Actress-cum-novelist Lara Parker's second
Dark Shadows novel,
The Salem Branch (Tor, 2006), is the follow-up to her
Angelique's Descent, released by
HarperCollins in 1998. If you're here, you probably already know the
history, but I suppose I should mention that Lara wrote the introduction
Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark (HarperCollins, 1999),
which I co-wrote with Elizabeth Massie, and I had the pleasure of
appearing with her at the 1999 Dark Shadows Festival in New York (at the
World Trade Center, as a matter of fact). Anyone who knows me knows that
I am one dyed-in-the-wool Dark Shadows fan and close
friends also know that Lara, as Angelique, was the first true love of my
life at age ten (a trait I have in common with six and a half million
American males of my generation, I'm sure). Thus, one might conclude
that any remarks I might make about her novel are somewhat biased. Well,
maybe. On the other hand...I edited
magazine for a decade and both accepted and rejected the work of many
close friends based on its merits, so I like to think my
objectivity remains reasonably untarnished. Agree or disagree
as you will.
I will concede
that I had heard little positive about The Salem Branch
before I sat down to read it. Many readers complained of its exceedingly
hot violet prose, and the fact that the author displayed little
understanding of the characters from the show which was probably the
most remarkable (and quite surprising) failing of Angelique's
Descent. Well, I have to tell you, for the most part, I enjoyed
The Salem Branch albeit with no small number of caveats.
It's quite true that Lara's characterizations aren't what one might
expect from someone who actually played a part in the show, but it's
evident to me that she intended from the outset to delve deeper into
personalities than she had in her first book, and in large part
whether or not she accurately captured the personas from the show itself
she did frequently succeed in drawing the characters as real human
beings, warts and all. If there's a real failing in this, it's that, too
often, the warts are the focus, and as a result, the momentum of the
story suffers, particularly in the chapters where Barnabas is dealing
with life as a human being, rather than a vampire. Still, the plot feels
faster-paced and better constructed than in her original outing, and
some of the criticisms of the story's twists and turns strike me as
unwarranted specifically the scenes involving the Collins' family's
interaction with the hippies who have taken up residence on their
property. (But again with a caveat there's a scene of local law
enforcement personnel running this gang off the Collins's property
that's so over-the-top that I nearly split a gut. And that is bad.)
I will agree with the critics that there is too much purple prose. In
fact, if I were to make any real recommendation on technical matters, it
would be for the author to check out the proper usages of words such as
"akimbo" and "pugnacious" and to never, ever, ever use phrases such as "She
placed the epithet in verbal italics, her tone sardonic." This was an
affront to narrative voice that nearly sent me packing and moving on to
reading Jonathan Maberry's
Ghost Road Blues (which is a fine book that I will
review in detail in the near future). However...I am quite glad I
persevered with The Salem Branch because, in spite of its
shortcomings, it's really, really not a bad novel at all. I'd go so far
as to say it's superior in almost every respect to S. E. Hinton's
almost-Dark Shadows novel,
Hawkes' Harbor (which I reviewed in an edition of
The Log a bit over a year ago), and that's not just me
shooting shit. The atmosphere is oftentimes so vivid that I can truly
feel myself immersed in the story, and in my old age, that experience is
a rare thing indeed. The climax, which some critics felt was ludicrous,
didn't strike me as ludicrous at all. In fact, in its own way, it was
admirably imaginative and reasonably well-rendered.
I'm going to give The Salem Branch three beers out of six,
with a solid shot of Mezcale, worm and all, to go with it. Not
superlative by any stretch, but then again, not too shabby.
Take that from an old Dark Shadows connoisseur.
Friday, March 2, 2007
Went to see my brother
Phred play and wail his original tunes at
The Garage in Winston-Salem last night. A nice little show, with a
band following that was reasonably entertaining. Enjoyed hanging out
with his girlfriend
Golda and her friend Denise, and throwing back a couple of pints of
locally brewed ale. Whoa! Very tasty, very stiff.
Got the good word from my mom that her surgery appears to have taken
care of her health issues, and there shouldn't be a need for any more
radical treatment. Excellent news indeed. My thanks to all who sent up
prayers and good wishes for her.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
The Horror Library is a big mess this month
edition features an interview with me.
Q & A by
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show editor Edmund
Schubert talking about
Deathrealm, my latest literary endeavors, and my epitaph. Enjoy.
The Horror Library Interview
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Checked out a
somewhat neat Thai ghost flick tonight called
The Ghost of Mae Nak, which I received a few moons back as a
perk for writing reviews for About Horror.com. It's based on Thailand's
most famous ghost story the ancient tale of Mak and Nak, who were ill-fated
lovers, their lives destroyed by war. In the present day, a new couple
named Mak and Nak find themselves haunted by the ghost of Mae Nak, who
at first protects them from harm but exacts a very high price.
The movie is well-acted, with sympathetic protagonists, and has some
highly effective, gruesome moments, although over-abundant clamor and flashing strobe lights too frequently spoil the mood.
I like the oftentimes eerie score, and a few of the spectral visitations are fairly well
staged. Alas, the story relies on too many
coincidences to keep things moving forward. Actress
Pataratida Pacharawirapong, who plays Nak, is superb (not to mention
In all, I'd give this one three out of six beers. It's worth watching
once, at any rate.
Friday, February 23, 2007
upon a review of Dark Wisdom magazine issue 10, which
features my story, "The Lake of Shadows." About my tale,
reviewer Melissa Minners says...
"Told in the first person, 'Lake of Shadows' is chillingly haunting. A man and
his wife struggle to understand why their nineteen-year-old college
student daughter committed suicide. One year after her death, they
decide to visit the location of her untimely death, a lake in
Virginia. Once there,
the couple experiences a frightening encounter with the macabre. It is
immediately apparent that something other-wordly is occupying that
lake...something that may have caused their Sarah to take her own life.
Something alluring, yet monstrous. When I say that this story is spooky,
Im not kidding. This one will actually cause the short hairs on your
neck to stand at attention. Stephen Mark Rainey is extremely descriptive
you can actually see the scene unfolding before you. An excellent
The review of
the entire issue may be found at
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
had one of those wonderful nightmares last night that was characteristic of the
kind I had when I was an adolescent the kind that led me to write scary stories in the first place. The kind that reminds me of the
first time I read H. P. Lovecraft, when I felt he had somehow reached forward
through the years and plucked images and emotions from my most personal
nightmares and transcribed them into his own stories.
I don't remember all that much of it now; mainly that I was in possession of a
sealed trunk, and inside this trunk was some demonic thing that would scratch on
the sides and whisper, "I want to get out." My brother evidently had a room in
his basement where we could seal the trunk permanently, but as we were carrying
it down the stairs, we dropped it, and it split open. We ran outside and closed
the doors, but as we looked back at the house, it changed before our eyes into a
decrepit, dilapidated husk, and we could see something moving inside the
windows. Then a voice drifted to us that said, "I am out now."
Probably not so scary the way I relate it here, but last night, it woke me up
and kept me awake for several minutes. I'll avoid any of the obvious
psychobabble and let it stand as is. Maybe there will be a place for it in a
weird tale somewhere down the line.
Monday, February 19, 2007
It's been a long and eventful few days. On the downside, on Friday, my mother
had to have major surgery. On the upside, it apparently went well; I hope she'll
do fine during the long recovery, and that there are no further complications. I
spent Friday evening and parts of Saturday and Sunday with her in the hospital,
and barring any unforeseen mishaps, she's planning on coming home today.
Saturday afternoon, I packed up and went to Waynesboro, VA, where I hooked up
with Ms. Iritgud herself,
Elizabeth Massie, and monster man,
Cortney Skinner, and then attended the monstrous Mardi Gras bash hosted by
the horrific team of
Deena Warner. A most entertaining affair, with much music, dancing, imbibing
of spirits, and general merrymaking, without the first suggestion of good taste
ever once rearing its ugly head. Seriously, the Warners always throw a great
party. I'm so glad they
didn't throw my party-crashing ass out
sent me an invitation.
Yesterday, returned by way of Martinsville and stayed a while with my mom. My
brother was around to help take care of things, which has eased my mind
considerably. Then Peg and I drove over to High Point and stayed the night with
our friends Missy and Daryl, who were down from Chicago for a few days. Got back
home today, a wee bit exhausted but feeling relatively satisfied. Will be
checking on Mom later, and I hope the worst for her is over.
Since I'm off work today, it is now time to get writing. I write. I write good.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I very much regret that I didn't manage to read
Lee Thomas's novel
Damage (Sarob Press, 2006) before the early January deadline
for Stoker Award recommendations because I would have surely given it
one. It's almost certainly the most compelling book I've read in the
past year, with an engaging story, characters that are what characters
are all about, and a handful of very creepy scenes.
Doug McQueen wakes from a coma, which he soon discovers is the result
of a brutal assault. His memories of events leading up to the attack
have been obliterated, and as he tries to resume his former life, he
learns that his past was nothing to be proud of. His wife and his
brother have good reason to hold grudges against him yet he cannot
remember any of the strife between them or the reasons for it. As he
tries to put the pieces together, he finds that certain people he had
become involved with have some very dark secrets. A man named Ansen
Riggs, in particular, appears intent on sowing some bad seeds in the
town of Pierce Valley.
As Doug gets closer to the truth, he finds himself trapped in a town
beset by a series of gruesome killings; a violent, unnatural storm; and
dead themselves rising...
Thomas's focusing on McQueen as a protagonist keeps the mystery sharp
because, having lost crucial memories of his former life, he wants
answers, and there's a certain sense of tragedy as we gradually discover
that he might not be so deserving of our sympathy. His brother, Frank,
and wife, Lisa, both have their reasons for detesting Doug's former
behavior, yet find it difficult to hold him accountable for things he
can't remember, particularly as he appears to be acting in their
interests as events in the community begin to grow dark indeed.
Thomas is a dynamic storyteller, putting all the dramatic elements in
place right from page one. Damage isn't a very long novel,
and if it does have any noticeable shortcomings, it's in the development
of antagonist Ansen Riggs. He's a striking character but is somewhat
short-changed by having so little dimension. Regardless, the storyline
is so high-energy that the issue isn't severe enough to dwell on.
This is the first of Thomas's works that I've read, and I believe it's
sufficient to make me a convert. Sarob Press has issued the novel in
their traditionally excellent limited and deluxe editions, so it may be
difficult to find (and on the expensive side). Regardless, Damage
is a novel well worth seeking out.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I decided to watch the new Masterpiece Theater production of
tonight, Drac being one of my
favorites in horror. In general, I was underwhelmed; just another fairly
drastic re-imagining of Stoker's classic although I did rather like the idea of the count being an intensely evil, remorseless creature that sees humans as nothing but prey. None of the casting seemed particularly inspired, though Tom Burke as Dr. Jack was fair enough and David Suchet as Van Helsing worked out pretty well.
The story seemed rushed no doubt to fit it into a 90-minute time slot. I'd much rather have seen a truer adaption, featuring some of the classic elements from the book that they excised in order to make way for the Holmwood-with-syphillis subplot, which struck me as mostly needless. I think the writers said, "Well, we gotta do
something to make this one different from all the others; let's try this." Well...I don't think they quite hit on all cylinders.
The final scene struck out big time, too. Didn't think they'd stoop to
such a cliche. But they did. Bugger that.
I spent the afternoon reading manuscripts for
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show,
Ed Schubert's minions, including
William R. "Mr. Bill" Trotter, his wife Liz Lustig, and my good friend
Gina Farago. What a treat to read slush for a day. (Notice my finger going
down my throat, please.) Actually, it wasn't as bad as all that because this
batch of stories had actually made it past first readers. Still, there were
precious few worth reading more than a couple of pages. But for endless pizza
and beer, I figured what the heck...
Gina did offer me what is perhaps the nicest compliment I've received for
Blue Devil Island. She's about halfway through it, and she said it's
hard to believe I wasn't actually a WWII vet because the narrative has her
utterly convinced. That makes me smile.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Quite a good day for watching stuff. My all-time favorite
2001: A Space Odyssey, played on TCM this afternoon, which
was especially enjoyable since they run their movies uncut and in
widescreen. I used to have 2001 on laser disc way back
when, but for whatever reason, I've never picked it up on DVD, so when
it's given a good presentation on the toob, well, there I am. I have
very vivid memories of seeing this on its first run with my dad back in
'68. He was reluctant to take me because he was afraid I "wouldn't
understand it," but as it turns out, I probably understood it better
than he did.
Then I took a look at a nice little DVD my good buddy Mark Sieber sent
me The History of Drive-In Movies, which is exactly
that, featuring all kinds of personalities, such as Beverly Garland, Joe
Bob Briggs, Leonard Maltin, and Barry Corbin, offering a really fun,
visual retrospective about drive-ins. I've been a drive-in freak since
my folks took me to them to watch monster movies back in the good old
days and in more recent days, it's always a pleasure to get together
with the Siebers and hit the Starlite Drive-In in Durham.
And lest I appear to have spent a
merely frivolous day, I also got in a respectable amount of housework, much to
my wife's delight, and a shitload of writing, much to my own delight. Tomorrow,
I get to masquerade as editor again, this time helping out
Ed Schubert work through the slushpile (which I understand is considerable)
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Ah, that poor
bastard; I wondered if Ed knew what he was getting into when he told me he was
putting on the editorial chief's hat. I really shouldn't laugh, but I kind of
February 3, 2007
story, "Sky of Thunder, Island of Blood," has made it onto the preliminary
ballot for the HWA Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction. A nice thing to see,
though it's up against far too stiff competition to make it further, I expect.
Still, I'm really happy to see it make a showing, as it's been a few years since
I've had a tale get this far into the process. While they didn't make the
The Nightmare Frontier, "Other Gods" (from Cemetery Dance
#56) and "The Devils of Tuckahoe Gorge" (from Dark
Discoveries #8) also received a number of recommendations, so I'd call
that a reasonably solid showing.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Horrorworld reviews, February 2007.
(Scroll down to the third review.)
"If you are a fan of Edgar
Allan Poe or just enjoy losing yourself in rich atmospheric writing,
Evermore is an amazing reading experience that will leave you
wishing for more. I have no hesitation in giving this anthology my
Reportedly, sales are looking very good, and reviews have been generally
kind. A mighty fine batch of authors and stories in this one. Arkham
House has done us all proud, I believe.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Fran Friel's Mama's Boy
(Insidious Publications, 2006) is a solidly packaged novella, released
as a limited edition of 100 copies, and signed by the author, cover
artist Tom Moran, interior artist Zach McCain, and writer James Newman,
who wrote the Introduction. The novella has been sold out for a while
now, and it has garnered quite a few recommendations for a Stoker award
in the Superior Achievement in Long Fiction category.
The story is about one Frank "Henry" Doe, an inmate at a psychiatric
institution whose long history of abuse by his mother has twisted him
into an imaginative "boy" indeed. Having been used as a sexual object
for as long as he can remember, his views of romance and sexual
interaction are, to say the least, somewhat beyond the norm. He has a
habit of collecting mementos from his various lovers, but at long last,
he finds himself actually falling in love with a young woman named Vicki
Lystner and desires to change his ways. Old habits die hard, of course,
and his pursuit of Vicki results in some serious conflict both
internally and with those whose lives converge with his.
For a work done early in her publishing career, Fran Friel makes a
fairly impressive showing. However, the novella suffers from a few
overused conventions (the psychopathic killer smothered by a dominating
and deviant mother, a skewed sense of morality perceived as "normal" by
the killer himself, a maternal fixation that skirts too closely to
Pscyho territory) and an awkward construction due to the
killer himself orally narrating much of the story to a third party. This
is a tricky approach at the best of times, and while Ms. Friel's motive
for using it is understandable, it plays like a horror movie being
narrated because its soundtrack was lost. The character vocalizing
everything from personal thoughts to dialogue to long scene descriptions
simply never rings true and keeps me one step away from being immersed
in the story.
Regardless, the pacing is relentless, and the character of Henry manages
to be frequently engaging in his own twisted way. Ms. Friel's prose
effectively draws a character led by sexual frustration and desire for
gratification. Even during scenes of sexual violence, she manages to
infuse a subtle touch of erotic excitement that reflects Henry's own
perversion; happily, for the sake of verisimilitude, the descriptions
are mostly restrained rather than over-the-top.
The novella's resolution brings no surprise; rather than being
disappointing, however, it simply seems inevitable. The story as written
couldn't have ended any other way.
Zach McCain's interior art is a major highlight of this edition.
Beautifully rendered and reproduced in color, and worth the price of the
book itself. Alas, I really, really do not like the cover art, which I
infer was drawn by Tom Moran and colored by McCain. It's a pity one of
the interiors wasn't selected for the cover.
At the end of it all, I give Mama's Boy a marginal
recommendation though now that its small press run has sold out,
you'll be doing well if you can find a copy. On a scale of one to six
beers (six being the best), I'll give it three plus a shot of tequila.