In HOUSE OF HOUSES, author Kevin L. Donihe has hit his stride. The plot, a man falling in love with his house, seems almost too gimmicky to work overIn HOUSE OF HOUSES, author Kevin L. Donihe has hit his stride. The plot, a man falling in love with his house, seems almost too gimmicky to work over the course of a 100-plus page novel, but Donihe pulls it off with generous doses of surrealism, humor, and even something like house spirituality. The narrator, Carlos, begins his story by waking up to find his house collapsed around him. Naturally, he's confused. When he is finally able to escape the ruins, he finds a neighborhood greatly changed and a new life filled with loss and regret. Because Carlos didn't just live in his house, he loved his house. He was planning on marrying his house (whose name is Helen). He had even kept himself virginal, saving it for their wedding night. He had drilled a hole in her wall in preparation for this. Now she's gone. Once out of the house he meets Tony, a neighborhood guardian who looks kind of like a black Man-At-Arms from the He-Man cartoons. Tony introduces Carlos to "quasi-dimensional psychopomps" and his defense mechanism, "sexpounding." Sound weird? It gets weirder. Carlos enters a world, House Heaven, a polarized version of his normal world. House Heaven is run by a cruel tyrant named Manhaus, who seems to be part man and part house. Will Carlos be able to locate Helen's spirit body and escape?
Donihe surprised me on nearly every page of this book. It starts out as something that sounds like a joke, becomes an exploration (through the examination of house metaphysics and politics) of the human spirit and how it is dampened, and ends up being something rather sensitive and poignant. ...more
Squid noir writer Jordan Krall returns with his second book from Eraserhead Press, a collection of three novellas called SQUID PULP BLUES. If you’ve rSquid noir writer Jordan Krall returns with his second book from Eraserhead Press, a collection of three novellas called SQUID PULP BLUES. If you’ve read and enjoyed PIECEMEAL JUNE, you’re going to love SQUID PULP BLUES. In “The Haberdasher,” the opening novella, Red Henry Hooper gets paroled and is immediately confronted by circumstances more bizarre and violent than he can possibly imagine. “The Longheads” focuses on Tommy Pingpong and his pal Jake. They are on the run from Peachy, one of the more entertaining crime villains I’ve encountered. I won’t ruin it for you but he has this certain... quirk. The closing novella, “The Apocalypse Donkey,” is my favorite one in the whole collection. Simon, a comic book artist, accepts a mysterious package from a stranger and attends a comic book signing while waiting for his elusive friend Chaps (who is finally rendered in hilariously ominous detail in the last few pages of the book).
Krall explores Thompson (an overt homage to legendary crime writer Jim Thompson), New Jersey in all of its violent, surreal (squid powder anyone?), often comical detail. It’s somewhere you probably don’t want to go but definitely don’t mind reading about. His plotting almost seems like standard crime novel fare: deals gone bad, angry psychopathic assassins, bosses wronged; but he adds a sort of squidy Krallness that will greatly appeal to lovers of bizarro fiction.
I’m looking forward to seeing a full-length work by Krall.
And I really, REALLY want to know more about Chaps. ...more