By Dustin LaValley
Reviewed by Garry Charles
Upon opening the envelope that contained THE BLEEDING I was left feeling a little disheartened for two reasons:-
1) The print quality of what should have been a stunning front cover was quite poor and did the excellent artwork no justice.
2) The package felt small in my huge, grubby paws.
Having now read THE BLEEDING I am reminded of two old sayings:-
1) Never judge a book by its cover.
2) Good things come in small packages.
THE BLEEDING is a collection of 12 short stories. I usually have a problem with very short stories--which a few of these are--I get annoyed that the story is lacking, that I want more and wishing for a grander portrayal. This is not the case with Dustin's work. The author chooses his words with care and manipulates the low word count into doing exactly want he wants. No matter how short the tale he manages to give it a beginning, a middle and an end that is not only satisfying, but often left me dumbstruck with horror, nodding in agreement or laughing in amusement.
As is my usual way with collections I have listed them below for your perusal.
An Usher of Self-Eradication
Less than a page long the opening of THE BLEEDING has a poetic feel. It unnerves and leaves the reader unsure of what lurks ahead.
An Unborn Dilemma
What's in the bag? The image of brain matter plastered on the wall still haunts me.
Baby Crane Adoption Agency
Funny, yet horrific without being graphic and tinged with a hint of absurdist style. I loved this one (does that make me a bad person?).
All But One and the Same
If Carlsberg wrote zombie stories this would be it!!! An original slant on a well worn genre.
The weakest tale in the collection, but by no means a bad one. It just lacks something I can't put my finger on.
Antidote for Chronic Neurological Distress
A sad tale of pain, suffering and the need to die. A personal look at suicide with a touching end. A pleasure to read.
The Bologna Jesus Phenomenon
F**king hilarious. The obvious explanation for all those 'I saw Jesus in my rice crispies' stories.
She Waits in the Moonlight
A spine tingling tale brimming with a sense of dread that permeates every word. Read in a minute, but lives on in memory.
Daddy J's Girl
The best reason ever to steer clear of chat rooms and using the internet for sexual kicks.
We started out with a poetic piece and that's how the chapbook ends.
Overall an excellent little taste of nastiness. The only complaint I have is that Naked Snake Press should consider using glossy paper for the cover and use a better printer. The art work for THE BLEEDING cover is superb and let down by this lack of quality.
Apart from that if you have a few pounds spare visit Project Pulp and see what you think.
Thank you and good night.
The Bleeding by Dustin LaValley. Pb, 40pp, $5 exP&P. Published by Naked Snake Press.
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