Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beat to a Pulp: Round Two

Beat to a Pulp: Round One might be one of the best crime fiction anthologies I've ever read--and Round Two follows in its footsteps.

The variety and quality of stories is remarkable. So is how emotionally effecting these stories are--this is an excellent demonstration of how pulp fiction isn't just about sex and violence. (Though there's plenty of that too!)

It kicks off with Bill Prozini's "The Space Killers." I usually dislike pastiches, but this is very well done. The punchline is a doozy--and it's revealed in a gradual, controlled manner.

The legendary Vin Packer's "Far From Home" might be my favorite in here. It's a sad, lovely story about family loyalty and discrimination. And the writing will make you be afraid to pick up a pen again.

I dig Chris F. Holm's crime fiction, but his short horror is so freaking good. "An Open Door" is sure to give you the creepy crawlies, but it goes beyond that and delves into our lack of understanding of how the world works. I think horror's best when it's exploring our base insecurities, and Holm does that here.

Alec Cizak's "State Road 53" shows just how messed up small-town life can be. He's knows how to create flawed, likeable characters. And the atmosphere is perfect--felt like I was back in the Midwest.

I don't exaggerate when I say that there are several other stories in here that will floor you. Jodi MacArthur, Patti Abbott, Sean Chercover--the list goes on. There's only one solution--and you can find it here.


  1. Thanks kindly, Chris! That story's also a winking sequel of sorts to "Seven Days of Rain," for those who, like me, dig writerly-universe-continuity.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Chris!

  3. Many thanks for the review, Chris. And Vin Packer's story is very special for me. She's a legend, a great lady, and I'm humbled she offered us a story.