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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Amazon Review
CHOCOLATE PARK is the debut chapbook from up and coming writer, Chesya Burke, and it reminds us of something we read horror to escape: that true horror exists all around us. Let's face it, the usual model of a horror novel or story is to have horror intrude upon the ordinary. You're sitting around in your middle class life, minding your own business, when suddenly, this "other" barges in from the outside. With CHOCOLATE PARK, the horror lies as close as what CNN or your local news refuses to cover. Poverty, drugs, (mis) education all play into the cycle of horror that exists in those areas of towns that "decent folk" don't go to.
The ghettos of America.
Yes, these tales do their job, showing true horror in its context, making the reader uncomfortable, making the reader want to avert their eyes, and parading, without glamorizing, the horror of human suffering, human misery, human brutality, and human (bad) choices. These tales refuse to ignore the fact that we often live in a hell of our own making. The four stories in this short story collection tells of lives interconnected by life in the projects its denizens refer to as CHOCOLATE PARK. Chesya adds to the mix an intriguing cast of characters: three sisters, Ebony, who struggles to make ends meet with her job at the phone company; Coco, a drug addict turned prostitute to chase her next high, and Sable; the innocent 14 year old, who dreams of going to college.
Torch, the neighborhood drug dealer who earned his street name via his preferred way of dealing with those who got in his way; and Lady Black, the old lady who lives amidst the everyday madness.
The stories are little morality plays that illustrate how day to day horror is more
often than not, boiled down to a series of bad choice. Chesya also adds
an element of the supernatural, voodoo, to further stir things up. For
me, her prose style took a little getting used to. Her direct style has
a way of feeling like a lot of information is crammed into these pages.
Of course, that means that her stories move at a break neck pace.
This review copyright 2004 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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