Thursday, January 3, 2013

Let's Begin the New Year Right

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Since it is Thursday, here are some reviews of books by Word Weavers members that have been removed from Amazon:

“In Sickness: Stories from a Very Dark Place”

by L.L. Soares & Laura Cooney

Reviewed by Hydra M. Star

As an astute reader might deduce from the title, this collection is penned by a husband and wife writing
team; L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney. have known of Mr. Soares and his writing for sometime now,
both through the Cinema Knife Fight movie reviews he does with Michael Arruda, which are often just
as entertaining as the movies they review,and his various personal and character profiles on Facebook
and formally MySpace. Mr. Soares is in and of himself quite a character and so I knew I was in for a
ride with this one. Mrs. Cooney and her work were prior to picking up this book completely unknown
to me, but the first part of the collection are all stories written by her and so I got to know her writing
soon enough.

Five stories in total, from Laura Cooney, make up the first part of the collection; “Wasps”, “The
Hirsute You”, “Puppy Love”, “A Crown of Mushrooms”, and “Number 808”. “Wasps”, the tale of
a young ghost who comes back from the dead to pester the boy who was forced to be nice to her in
life, is by far my favorite of the five. It is hard for me to say what it was that made this story stand out
from the others without sounding as though I am speaking disparagingly of the rest, which is not my
intent, but I found the characters in this story to be better developed and the plot and story line a little
more clear. That comment aside, I would say these five stories fit and flow together very nicely. In
many ways they feel to me like the dreams of the same woman written down; Mrs. Cooney’s dreams
perhaps? This style of writing, dreamlike in nature, does not always lend itself well to creating a
concise storyline There are some “gaps” in these stories where I feel a bit too much information is left
out and left up to the reader to fill in. For example, was Nancy in “Puppy Love” really named Katie? If
so, why did she say her name was Nancy. I must, however, give kudos to Mrs. Cooney for introducing
me to a phrase and description of person I most truly love; “psychic cannibals”; a person who feeds
off of others mentally and emotionally through displays of anger and irrationality. I know and have
witnessed more then a few real life characters who fit this description.

The second part of the collection consist of six stories written by L.L. Soares; “Little Black Dress”,
“Second Chances”, “Mating Room”, “Head Games”, “The No! Place”, and “Private Exhibition”. Of
this section I would say my favorite was “Mating Room” because it brings into question just how much
of human sexuality is animal nature and how far one scientist will go to answer that question. I also
really liked “Head Games” and “The No! Place”. Both of these stories took somewhat unexpected turns
at the end. I don’t like stories that are predictable and can’t imagine many people do. Plus, anyone who
has followed Soares’s online exploits has to have expected there would be at least one story with super
smart monkeys.

The final section of the book is the collaborated work of Cooney and Soares. This section contains one
story, “In Sickness”. The title story of the collection. In this, the longest of the short stories of the book,
we return to the town of Blue Clay, which was first introduced to us in Soares’s “Second Chances”.
To me the two set in Blue Clay have a timeless sort of quality about them. Though there are references
which make it clear the story is set in the modern day this story still very much feels to me like a
step back in time to the 1950s. This is due in large part, in the case of the “In Sickness”, to Maddy’s
character, a housewife with a drinking problem who’s tormented by the ghosts of lost children, and

Zach her long suffering husband who starts out the story fantasizing about killing her.

This final story, like the collect itself, was a quick paced and fun read. I have no doubt that some will
find the subject matter of not only this last story but others in the collection distasteful and disturbing,
but that’s what horror is all about.

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