Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Cthulhu Child by David Brian

David Brian is a classy writer. He's actually got style and sophistication. Even when he's telling us about death, dementia, and cannibalism, he does it with good manners. This is not to say that what he's writing isn't sufficiently macabre or horrific. Brian just delivers a dab of refinement with his monsters.

The stories in this little collection are all good little horror pieces, with one notable exception (and this was a great story, just not horror per se). But, sadly, the stories taken separately are much better than the collection as a whole. The selections for this book didn't quite jive for me. The first two stories shared a key element that diminished the impact of both stories due to their being placed back-to-back. The best story of the bunch isn't technically a horror story at all (as noted above). However, this story, "Sugar Sweet," is easily the most disturbing and most effective piece in the book.

I think there is an art (like flower arrangement?) to picking and placing stories in a collection. If this collection contained more stories, perhaps it would have been easier to avoid some of the placement pitfalls encountered here. But, as it stands, you'd be best served to buy this book and read the stories out of order, with a fair chunk of time between them. If you do that, I'd say you'll be quite pleased.

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