Author/poet/journalist Gabriel Hart compresses twenty pieces of his most turbulent 'world-burning' fiction spanning 2015-2020, including the previously unpublished American nightmare Artificial Midnight and Skattertown.
I'm a sucker for short story collections, though I seem to have an annoying habit of acquiring more than I ever get around to reading. An invitation to take a look-see at Gabriel Hart's debut collection was too good an opportunity to turn down. At least, I would actually feel compelled to read them!
Twenty stories and an author introduction where Hart explains the origins and timespan of this collection of work, some of which have appeared previously in anthologies and at literature sites I'm familiar with; Close To The Bone, Shotgun Honey, Bristol Noir, Pulp Modern and more than a few that I've never heard of. Most of the pieces were written during the author's 2020 Covid Lockdown.
For my sense of completism the full TOC is ....
Straight to the Bone
The Distant Prince
Church of War
Black Pit Blues
The Gutter Runs Internally
The Space Between Two and Three
Dear Diana Ranswell (Mom)
Wrath Child’s Atrophy
Process of Elimination
Closed for Take-Out
The All-The-Way House
The Lonesome Defeat of Bridge Repair
Relationships, sex, therapy, confession, super-dogs, drugs, intoxication, suicide, an Amy Winehouse wannabe, death, loss, grief, drugs, experimentation, consumerism, gender identity, a hit and the sub-contract, a mother's wisdom, Covid panic - guns, toilet rolls and a life of fear or not, dystopia - drugs, gangs, big business, economics
I really enjoyed the collection. Not every story did it for me. Maybe I rush read certain sections of the book at times, rather than reading them a bit more leisurely and thinking about the meaning of each tale. Maybe life's too short! I did like Hart's writing style though and none flat out had me scratching my head.
4 from 5
Read - October, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 178
Source - review copy courtesy of Blackthorn Book Tours
Format - Kindle