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2014 Stories 138 - 153

Continuing my group "catch  up" posts to get me closer to current.

I've already reviewed three stories from TALES OF JACK THE RIPPER, edited by Ross E. Lockhart: "Abandon All Flesh" by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, "The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick-Maker" by Ennis Drake, and "Once November" by E. Catherine Tobler (aka graygirl). Clicking on the "jack the ripper" tag will bring those up along with this entry.  I'll be honest, I did not read the contents of this book in order; I bounced around as I saw fit. Thus, the stories are not presented here in the order they are in the TOC.


138. JACK'S LITTLE FRIEND by Ramsey Campbell.  The first of several stories, and like the Lansdale a classic, in which Jack is not a single person but a malevolent influence.
139. RIPPING by Walter Greatshell   It's not easy to tell a story completely in dialogue, and Greatshell pulls it off, in the context of an encounter between an indie film director and a bar chanteuse. Kept me completely within the story, and it wasn't til the end I realized there hadn't been a single word of description outside of the dialogue.
140. SOMETHING ABOUT DR. TUMBLETY by Patrick Tumblety  -- Without giving anything away, this is a solid story about the generational influence of mental illness, with the Ripper as an inciting factor.
141. A HOST OF SHADOWS by Alan M. Clark and Gary A. Braunbeck   Repentance is a factor is several of the stories in this book, but nowhere moreso than in the story that leads it off. Really solid characterizational work for the main character (Jack, in his elder years) and the primary secondary character.
142. GOD OF THE RAZOR by Joe R. Lansdale  A recognized classic, I will admit I started reading this one very late at night and had to put it aside and come back to it several days later; even just the initial confrontation on the rickety basement steps was enough to make me wonder if I'd locked my own basement door.
143. THE TRUFFLE PIG by T.E. Grau   A solid short tale addressing the conspiracy theory angle of Ripper tales -- what if the victims all had something in common?
144. RIPPEROLOGY by Orrin Grey --  Absolutely one of my favorites in the book, it addresses the question of why we're still so fascinated with Jack the Ripper so many years later. It touches on how obsessed we are with secrets (and even moreso in this Internet age) and make celebrities out of murderers.
145. HELL BROKE LOOSE by Ed Kurtz     Kurtz's tale takes place before the Ripper murders, and in a different country, but the thematic links throughout are strong. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say that Kurtz' strong-point is building tension through a sense of the character's internal disorientation. Another of my favorites.
146. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE by Edward Morris
147. JULIETTE'S NEW TOY by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
148. A PRETTY FOR POLLY by Mercedes M. Yardley
149. TERMINATION DUST by Laird Barron   Barron's tale is the most truly ensemble piece in the book, with the narration shifting among a half-dozen different characters involved in the devastation of a small Alaskan town just as winter is rolling in. Who is the killer? Who isn't? The testimonies and time-frames jump all over, creating a really great tension and sense of disquiet throughout.
150. VILLAINS, BY NECESSITY by Pete Rawlik  There had to be at least one story in the volume that played the classic game of connecting various famous literary characters with Jack the Ripper; Rawlik provides it. Telling you the story mentions Mr. Hyde, Fu Manchu, Holmes and Moriarty, Sebastian Moran, and AJ Raffles doesn't give anything away. A fun read.
151. WHEN THE MEANS JUST DEFY THE END by Stanley C. Sargent
152. WHITECHAPEL AUTUMN, 1888 by Ann K. Schwader
153. SILVER KISSES by Ann K. Schwader

I also reviewed the book as a whole on my personal LJ.

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