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2009 Stories 182 - 191

A batch from the early 2009 issue of Cemetery Dance magazine, so they're all horror of one kind or another:

182. The Woman In The Club Car by Thomas Tessier.  Pretty predictable standard "man meets a lonely woman, offers her a ride, she takes him to the spot where she died" story.  Some nice turns of phrase and a cute little coda at the end.

183. Living By The Highway by Daniel G. Keohane.  Wasn't crazy about the flow of this one, but liked the little twist at the end that saved it from being a typical "childhood friend died young" story.

184. The Devil Came To Mamie's On Hallowe'en by Lisa Morton.  This one worked for me up until the end -- strong female lead character trying to avoid a life of prostitution, good mood-setting by the author, but something about the final few paragraphs just felt disappointing.

185. Faded Into Impalpability by Bruce Holland Rogers & Jeremy Robert Johnson.  Interesting prose experiment, in a form called a "symmetrina."  Not familiar with the form before this.  I can't say I understood how all of the vignettes linked thematically (they were supposed to), but I liked most of them on their own and did see some character connections between them.

186. My Knife Collection by Jeff Strand.  A very short, quick piece, virtually a monologue.  A serial killer describes his collection.

187. Case White by Thomas Sullivan.  Hilter sends a team to northern European waters to investigate some sub-sea coastal caves, supposedly as a testing ground for a rocket program but really to see if there are links to the real "master race."  The main character goes through a real questioning of belief as the story progresses, and I liked that.

188. Some of These Cons Go Way Back by Simon R. Green.  This is the second "Nightside" short story I've read, although this one does not feature Private Eye John Taylor.  Not sure if the main character of this story is a regular supporting character of the novels, but the title says it all -- the con in this story is so old I saw it coming long before the reveal.

189. Conversations Kill by Tim Waggoner.  This story might have been my favorite in the issue.  A woman wakes up, bound but not gagged, in a car driven by her husband.  The question quickly arises: is she a figment of his imagination, or is he insane?  Either way, she may not be long for the world.  Great ratcheting up of tension and sharp dialogue.

190. Taipusan by Eric Brown.  Set in India just after the Brits lost control of the country.  A British man in search of his wife encounters a hitherto unknown cult with a particular fetish.  This one worked for me.

*****

And one from The New Yorker:

191. Ziggurat by Stephen O'Connor (June 29, 2009 issue).  I liked how this story started, but it lost me about halfway through.  It's about the Minotaur, but the Labyrinth is incredibly modern.  The story takes an existential turn (the best I can describe).  I think I just didn't want to think hard enough to figure out what the story's point was after that.

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