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  • A Cheeseburger and Beer

    I really love a good novella. There is something that is just so very comfortable about a good pocket-sized read. It is like having your very own cheeseburger - or maybe a bottle of beer. It isn't going to fill you up for the rest of the evening - but there is something innately satisfying about a well-written novella. And, by the same token, there is something about the horror genre that just seems to fit PERFECTLY into a novella-sized package. So I always enjoy sitting down and reading a good horror novella collection. Like this one. SPOOKY STACKS: FOUR HORROR TALES. Like the title says, there are four novellas in this collection. *** Let me tell you about the first one - FAST ZOMBIES SUCK - by Brian Keene. Now, Keene knows his zombies and this novella centers around the way that one particular person handles the zombie apocalypse. The protagonist, Ken, is a zombie movie nerd. Or maybe I ought to call him a geek. In any case this novella will take you through the opening minutes of a zombie outbreak - or does it? You read it and see. It is a macabre little exercise in irony and it is well worth the read. *** The second novella - PIZZA FACE - is written by Bryan Smith, a master of the no-holds-barred oh-my-god-I-think-I'm-going-to-puke school of gross-out horror. Let me put this way. A Bryan Smith novel is NOT for those folks who are easily offended by gratuitous violence. We are talking Edward Lee style mega-gore. PIZZA FACE does NOT disappoint the Bryan Smith fan. *** Scott Nicholson is a little more of a thoughtful subtle writer and his novella, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, is probably the best read of the collection. It is a soft and subtly haunting post-apocalyptic yarn - a campfire tale told in the dark. The last line echoes like a rock dropped down into the belly of a coal mine. *** Jonathan Maberry's COOKED is the last novella of the collection - a thick and rich gumbo that is DEFINITELY good to the last drop. It will stick to your ribs and leave you creaking out those tasty little pepper burps that good down-home cajun creole cooking will leave lingering in your belly. I guarantee you that you will NEVER look at a plastic pink flamingo or a lawn gnome the same way again. *** SPOOKY STACKS is a darned good read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a few good horror novellas. I'd recommend reading it over a cheeseburger and a beer. yours in storytelling, Steve Vernon

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