The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Bruce Blake

June 14, 2011 at 1:33 am (writing)

Backroads and Alleyways: a Collection of Diversions – Bruce Blake


I bought this on a whim, after reading Mr. Blake’s blog, and it was not a purchase I have regretted making. Mr. Blake is a very talented horror writer and this collection offers refreshing horror stories with an original flavour. I loved the short, punctuated sentences that he uses with his particular writing style. It’s not a choppy read and it still had great flow; his style gave the stories a gripping, fast-paced feel. I enjoyed these stories so much, I decided to address each one individually, my favourite being “Boulder.”

Darkness Stalks the Night – A first person vampire (and more) tale written very much in the moment. The story was harsh, even gross at times, but with some great dark humour and I love the things that the main character chooses to focus on, occasionally dwelling on his past (I love the jibe about the ties). There’s an excellent twist to the ending

Boulder – This is a pleasantly gory first person war story. The author describes it best in one word: “Carnage.” But this is more than just carnage of the physical sort and it’s the psychological carnage of war that presents the real horror in this story. It definitely grabbed me.

Wave Songs – This was more spooky than terrifying; cop story with a supernatural element. This was enjoyable but didn’t have as strong an impact as the first two. I think I would have liked it to be longer. It left me with many unanswered questions.

Another Man’s Shoes – A brief but clever tale about a man who would not die, the reason why, and another man caught up in his strange existence because of a desire to help. I like the transition between first and third person narrative for a specific effect (I used this method myself in “Dry Heat”).

Stilton’s Antiques – This super creepy doll story had my attention right from the start and reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode.

Walk on Water – This story isn’t exactly what it appears to be at first. I’ll just say it’s about a man obsessed, and leave it at that. I’m impressed by the way Mr. Blake manages to say so much in so few words.

Lassie Came Home – A moving tale with a lot of character. It was one of the longer stories and it had many curious little detours. It starts with a homeless man and a talking dog, and things just got stranger from there.

Yardwork – An eerie, sadistic tale about a young man, with serial killer tendencies, who is finally driven to the edge where he takes that final desperate step. You can see where the story is going fairly early into it, but Mr. Blake plays with the nasty concept quite effectively.

Kudos for work well done and I’m looking forward to reading more from Mr. Blake.

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