Once in a while I read something really interesting and unexpected. I’ve been getting a bit of reading done recently, having plowed through Stephen King’s END OF WATCH (thumbs up), Harlan Coben’s HOME (also thumbs up), Jim Butcher’s SIDE JOBS (very good), Steve Richer’s THE PRESIDENT KILLED HIS WIFE (good), V.J. Chambers’ THE GIRL ON THE STAIRS (title copying of all of those “Girl on the…” books aside, a really great psychological thriller), and MP McDonald’s MARCH INTO HELL (good and interesting!).
Then I read THE BLACKENING OF FLESH by Christian A. Larsen.
I met the author at a Printers Row festival in Chicago a couple of years ago at the Post Mortem Press booth, and his new book (at that time) called LOSING TOUCH intrigued me enough that I bought it at the booth. That was an odd, almost-superhero-but-not story about a guy who develops the ability to pass through solid surfaces. But really well done, and very fun to read.
This latest one is a ghost story that takes place in a little town somewhere in Illinois. This kid is an outsider who doesn’t even want to attend his own graduation. He works delivering prescriptions for an old-time pharmacy, and meets a college girl on one of his deliveries. She knows him, though, because she researched the house he lives in and she’s seen him around. The reason she researched the house is because she says that an entire Chicago mob family was wiped out in the house, but there were no bodies and no evidence, so no charges were filed and everything about their disappearance is speculation. Turns out, the ghosts are still around…
Great horror story, very tense and original. Chris isn’t afraid to not pull his punches, in a storytelling sense. He gets a little unfocused in places with the story in places, as there were sections where I just wanted to get past the meandering narrative and get back to the meat of the story. But there weren’t a ton of those places, and the payoff of the story works at a high level, much like LOSING TOUCH did.
Here’s me and Chris at the Printer’s Row book fest a couple of years ago. I’m the taller one.
PS: I see that LOSING TOUCH currently costs only $0.99! Such a deal!