Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Book Review - Phone Call from Hell and Other Tales of the Damned

Book - Phone Call from Hell and Other Tales of the Damned
Writer - Jonathan Woods
Published By - New Pulp Press

First things first, I got this book from the publishers, so thank you New Pulp Press for this opportunity.
Well, a short story collection is always nice to read, specially of a genre you already like.So a noir short story collection is always a treat. Jonathan Woods does quite extraordinary job here in some of the stories, but sadly like most collections out there the other ones are not up to the mark compared to the great ones. The book is filled with clever imagery and some typically lovable noir characters, packed with booze and sex and a real fun short read at times, while at others it kinda drags and doesn't seem to quite gel together.

 If you are looking for some short and thrilling read, this book does hit the sweet spot. Most of stories are very fast paced and thrilling reading and really linger a bit with you after you are done. The collection features various interesting characters and locations while really going quite a long way with imagery. Here are some good examples -

 "He knows we’re planning to kill him, flashes like an exploding fireball in a cheesy summer thriller through the Holland Tunnel of Jason’s brain."

 "Tiara is in a sweat, her heart palpitating like an amphetamine-stoked rodent."

 "A spliff smoldered on the table edge like an insect corpse burnt by the sun."

The collection has a total of 17 stories. I'll just mention some of the pieces that impressed me. The titular piece called 'Phone Call from Hell' tells of a guy getting a phone call from Charles Mansion to do some deeds for him, which is written in a humorous yet artistic way. 'The Old Man' is a story which dare I say reminded me a bit of Poe, it is actually a modernistic and noir style approach at the subtle horror of Poe stories. 'Dead Heat' pokes fun at Nobel Prizes and some well know authors in a unique way. 'The Other' is a straight forward thriller which really has a nice twist in the end. 'Hearing Voices' is another excellent piece where a female voice synthesizer in an elevator comes to life to seduce and coax someone to work for her. 'Crash and Burn' is a story of some characters coming together with different approaches to a specific occasion in Mexico and then all not going according to plan at all.

Despite having some really good stories, there are a few ones which really let the book down. The imagery and characters were quite good as a whole and Woods really does have a nice sense of humor. I am really looking forward to see him write a novel  or some other short story collections like this one and will definitely recommend this to fans of noir and crime fiction for a short, fun and thrilling read.

3 out of 5 stars from me.

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