Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to dispose of a body and then some.


By Jeff Strand

Publisher: DarkFuse;

Pub. Date: December 16, 2014

Rating: 33 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Jeff Strand's short fiction piece titled Facial starts off sounding like crime noir albeit very funny crime noir. There is a murder, then another murder, then lots of murders. How we get to the multiple murder scenario is where the weird stuff sets in. Strand sort of specializes in writing what you think is one thing and then turning it on its head, in this case somewhat literally. When you get to the dead lion in the basement and the face coming out of the floor, you know things are getting a little loopy.

In Facial, we end up with a dark comedy with supernatural elements. I hate giving many details in what is a short story so I will leave the rest for the reader to discover. Short stories deserve short reviews. Let's say that Facial has all the Strand elements; sharp witty dialogue, galloping plot with hairpin turns, and an imagination that doesn't quit. There is also some of the coolest changes in narratives I have ever read. Yet this one didn't grab me like his work usually does. It may be because, just this year, Strand has already hit two home runs out of the park with Kumquat and I Have a Bad Feeling about This. Facial feels like his usual madness. Yes, I liked it. Yes, I recommend it to those who like their murders and horrors with lots of laughs. But I ended the tale feeling that it was not one of his best. Entertaining as hell but no real kick, so to speak. So I am leaving it at three and a half stars. Not bad at all but not at the head of the class.

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