I have had the pleasure of calling Chad a friend for well over a year now. I've read a lot of his stuff in beta stages and I'm usually pretty impressed with what he delivers. I was lucky enough to have done the same with this, his most recent novella. I loved his coming-of-age story from last summer, Of Foster Homes And Flies and was excited to see how he'd follow it up. Well, I can tell you that Wallflower is an about face.
Wallflower is the first-person account of Chris, a young man--a boy in a lot of ways who is just starting to feel his way in the world. Trying on adulthood while desperately clinging to youthful ideals of responsibility and mortality. While out with his friends one day, they break into an abandoned house--urban exploring, I think the kids call it--and while inside they discover a derelict sleeping in one of the rooms. The boys end up assaulting and injuring the man before they flee the scene. Chris however decides he's going to go back. he wants to see that the man is okay but he has another reason. He noticed the hobo's drug paraphernalia lying about and wants to try heroin, just to do it. Chris embarks on a needle-fueled journey that goes deeper than he ever intended as he discovers that there are perils and pitfalls that were never covered in the after-school specials.
What plays out is an odd take on the master/apprentice arc, shoved through William Burroughs fedora. It's bleak and haunting. Brushburn raw and brimming with dark realism and it is honestly horrific.
Wallflower is available on Amazon.
After an encounter with a homeless man, a high school graduate becomes obsessed with the idea of doing heroin, challenging himself to try it just once. A bleak tale of addiction, delusion, and flowers.
Review by George Ilett Anderson
A Very British Purge
We probably all had that feeling at one point or another where someone has committed some act or said something unconscionable and you’ve just thought “I’d love to see you get your just desserts.” It’s an idea take to its logical extreme in the enjoyably sharp collaborative novella from J.R. Park and Matt Shaw, “Postal.”
Set in a contemporary England, the current government has decided to instigate a new piece of legislation, the “Postal Execution Grant” as a means to subdue and control the population. This official letter grants thirteen members of the population the right to commit legalized murder on any other person they deem worthy of receiving their wrath, free from any legal or ethical complications. I think it’s probably fair to say that Park and Shaw serve up quite the menu of deserving characters!
Review by Tony Jones
“There are much, much nastier things at sea than sharks…..”
The kindle was made for this perfectly pitched slice of sea horror, making great novellas that might have been tricky to track down a few year instantly accessible. Fortunately for me I had the luxury of reading “Sacculina” in under ninety minutes whilst flying to a family wedding, but if I had been sailing to that same wedding I doubt I would have enjoyed it so much! In recent years the horror world has been enrichen by the renaissance of the novella and I’ve really enjoyed stuff by the likes of Josh Malerman and Ted E Grau and so now I have Philip Fracassi to add to my ‘must read’ pile. Obviously I’ve been aware of his growing reputation for a while, as he’s been making big waves as a writer of short horror fiction, but this was my first read. It certainly will not be my last.
Review by Tony Jones