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REST FOR THE WICKED
by Brian Keene
Limited Edition HC $40
Trade Paperback $20
may very well be the PT Barnum of the Horror world. A great showman, a
proficient ringleader – words that can be used to describe either man.
Keene knows what the audience wants, and more importantly, he knows how
REST FOR THE WICKED, Keene offers up a collection of stories that are, quite
frankly, unrelenting, and as addictive as a bag of potato chips, with
that same elusive quality where one is never quite sufficient. Once you’ve
started reading a story, you find that you’re compelled to finish. Not
an easy task when the majority of my reading is done on the subway during
my commute to and from work. But Keene’s collection managed to do one
thing: it made me read it over the course of two days, and it made me
read it at home, where it cut into my writing time, as well as time set
aside to read through piles of short stories for various magazines. The
ultimate compliment, at least where I’m concerned.
I think I
could pick out the earlier stories – the ones with a handful of bizarrely
structured passages, even occasional poor word choices. What beginning
writer hasn’t suffered through a cliché or two? But I can also see the
improvement, the development of the writer, and of the writing, and now
we're graced with strong writing, riveting plots, amazing creatures and
monsters. “Earthworm Gods” is a truly terrifying story. Compelling, action-packed
– as is most of his work – certainly my favorite story in the collection.
is an interesting peek into the author’s creative process, an explanation
of that age-old question, “Where do you get your ideas?” The foreword
is a wonderful accounting, by the great horror author Richard Laymon,
of Keene’s writing and his vast and varied contributions to the Horror
is well worth the money and is destined to become a collector’s item.
He’s already deeply enmeshed in the Horror culture and has become a pagan
leader of sorts. As mentioned earlier, he’s the Horror Barnum, and he
knows how to sell it all in one neatly bundled package.
review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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