The collection features men and women who’ve been through the wringer and are trying to make changes in their lives. Roberge keeps them close, so that when they fail, we can see if they do so with grace or, as is more often the case, an utter lack of dignity. There are exterminators, demolition-derby drivers and men who share cells with desperadoes with the words “I can” and “see you” tattooed on their eyelids.
Things take a grisly turn in the second half of the collection as the stories move into territory staked by Barry Gifford, who wrote the novel that David Lynch adapted for Wild at Heart and co-wrote the screenplay Lost Highway. Slick, brutal and weird, these stories remind us of the violence that lurks at the edges of our awareness. From the sketchy-looking high-desert drifter to the nightmares derived from our own past, Roberge reminds us there’s no escape from our desires, and sometimes those who don’t survive are the lucky ones.
Short, slick, brutal and weird. Roberge gives Barry Gifford a run for his money in this neo-noirish stories of life on the edge.