The Shroud by David Moore – 4 stars
A small group within the Catholic Church has taken the Second Coming into its own hands, and the result is disastrous. While the concept of cloning Jesus using DNA obtained from the Shroud of Turin is nothing new, the direction this novel takes—and how the author executes it—is well done.
The writing style is excellent, with fluid prose and a great pace. Had it been more carefully copy edited, I likely would have rated this story 5 stars. There are a few places in which unrelated characters in unrelated scenes either assume the same information or come to the same conclusions when such information should have been restricted to limited characters and the reader. There were also a number of typos and errors in punctuation/capitalization, and a couple of improperly used references. Still, this novel is a beautiful read, filled with suspense and interesting ideas. I recommend THE SHROUD to thriller fans who enjoy well-crafted prose.
Monstrosities by Jeremy C. Shipp – 5 stars
Monstrosities was my first real taste of bizarre fiction, and while it left me feeling like my head had been thrown into a tornado, I walked away from this collection thoroughly entertained. The writing style is excellent, and nearly every story is exceptional, most of them seeming the literary equivalent of abstract modern art. If you like weird and creepy, you’ll love Monstrosities.
“Bullets and Fire” by Joe R. Lansdale – 4 stars
This short story, which offers a slice of urban gang life, is not only well-written but also surprising in the direction it takes. I have to say I didn’t see the end coming—not the way it was presented or from the standpoint of character motivation. It’s a quick read, but it packs a good amount of detail and personality for its length. I recommend this work to fans of contemporary fiction with a gritty and bold tone.
“Shame the Devil” by Christine Sutton – 4 stars
This story is a short, quick read with a lovely take on an old concept. While not entirely unpredictable, the presentation is fun and it’s a satisfying to read. I loved the play on perception, and I thought the ending was gratifying. I recommend this story to fans of supernatural fiction.
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