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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Dead Bait, Various Authors, Severed Press, 2009, Kindle Edition.


For all storytellers, fish tales are legendary. Everyone has one. Everyone has heard them. Fish stories are so much legend that they have transcended being cliché. Well, ‘Dead Bait’ is certainly chock full of fish stories by a variety of authors, and while these are not your typical fish stories, they do run the risk of being cliché.

There is plenty of action, violence and gore. There is a Were-shark, vampire fish, zombie piranhas, prostitution, unusual sex acts and even rape. Therein lies the problem: novel vulgarities presented with little substance.

There are nineteen stories in all, many by first timers. But like ‘chum’, the pungent aroma of the disgusting quotient is ramped up so high that the horror level disappears in the smell. There are too many similarities between certain stories, in both description and action, that the characters feel like retreads, over worn, one dimensional and flat. The plot lines, while different and I admit inventive, are almost too clever and due to the reading order, become redundant. As a collection it reads like a demented police blotter.

I read the book in one day, then read it again another day to be sure of my reaction. I am sure. During the second reading I became aware that some of the stories appear to be unedited, and that too can distract the reader.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a popular collection of short stories. So popular in fact that a second volume was issued in 2011. I was expecting more horror and less violation . If you like overly gross and overly disgusting tales that move rather quickly, albeit predictably, are packed with plenty of linear action and violence, but lack the punch of true horror, then this is the volume for you.

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2 comments:

Anonymous-9 said...

Hi Joe! Nice to see you still doing a great job keeping on top of the crime fiction world. It's guys like you that keep it turning. Just dropped by to say hi.

JosephPatchen said...

And hi to you too. Can't wait for your novel!!!

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