I think I’m finally starting to come around on short story collections. While I’ve read a few that I couldn’t quite get behind, the ones that I’m enjoying are seemingly outnumbering the ones I don’t. I was a big fan of John Connolly’s Nocturnes as well as Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars and now you can add Chris F. Holm’s Dead Letters to that exclusive club.
There’s a lot to like about this collection. While most of them were enjoyable, a select few completely blew me away. My favorite of the bunch involved a couple moving into a home believed to previously have been inhabited by a famous writer from Maine. Without giving anything away, Holm crafted an ending that gave me chills the likes of which I cannot recall. In addition to that, there’s a fantastic story involving a murder mystery featuring the characters from Rankin Bass’ Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer. Holm had me laughing out loud injecting these G-Rated personalities into a noir-style setting.
A few other great ones include “Action”, a hilarious bank robbery involving pretentious artists that goes awry, “A Native Problem”, a downright chilling tale involving cannibalism (or zombies) and “The Man With The Alligator Shoes”, a story that seems to mirror the frustration following the 2008 market crash.
Oh, and it would be a crime not to mention the story that kicks things off. “The Putdown” was certainly interesting enough given the style in which Chris chose to narrate the story. For someone not from the south, writing in a southern twang had to have been challenging. However, it was the ending that gripped me. I knew after finishing that solid opener, I had some interesting stuff ahead of me.
At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I can’t get enough of Mr. Holm’s work. Between his Collector series and now this short story collection, he’s an author that everyone should be looking out for in the coming years. Now, time to get 8 Pounds.
Check out Chris’ guest post regarding the short stories that stuck.
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