Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Phone Call from Hell and Other Tales of the Damned-- Jonathan Woods

When you're in the mood to travel down some dark paths, really dark, Jonathan Woods is your man.  Not that the dark paths aren't lighted with humor.  Sure, it's dark humor, but it's there in abundance, particularly in a story like "Lucky Man."  Or in "The Other Suitcase," in which a doomed man devotes his energies to finding a lost novel by Franz Kafka.  It's a story that ends with a bang.  Literally.  Then there's "A Bad Day for Barbecue," which has put me off BBQ for a while.  The title story is about a man who gets a phone call from Charles Manson.  Charlie has a strange request.  If you got that call, would you try to carry out the request?  This guy does.  "A Handgun's Tale" is narrated by a handgun with a literary bent.  For an inanimate object, it gets around.  "Writer's Block" brings us Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene out on the town.  To say it's not a flattering portrait of either man would be to understate the case.

Jonathan Woods' work might not be to everyone's taste, but if you're looking for the offbeat, the bizarre, and the downright strange, you owe it to yourself to read these stories.

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