Bleeding Shadows

Bleeding Shadows - Joe R. Lansdale I'll be updating this review with ratings of individual stories as I work my way through, not necessarily in order.

This book is MASSIVE for a collection of new short stories! So happy to have plenty of new Lansdale shorts to last me for the next few months (if I can manage to make it last that long).

**** Torn Away

Lansdale kicks off this collection with a nice dark fantasy, a small town sheriff encounters a strange man sitting in his car by the tracks...and something is hot on his heels. A nice way to open the collection, this story would make a great Masters of Horror episode, like his Incident On and Off a Mountain Road.

**** The Bleeding Shadow

This story is twice as long as the one that preceded it, and although the flavor of the locales and characters are quite different, it also shares the theme of a man being chased down by an unstoppable...something. The story is told through the eyes of an African-american amateur detective and set in the 1950s, and concerns tracking down a lover's brother, a blues man, who may have bit off more than he can chew.

The storytelling is wonderful, classic Lansdale all the way around in this one. Full of thrills, chills and chuckles.

**** A Visit with Friends

I can't really give too much away about this story without ruining the experience, since it's an "onion" type of Lansdale story, where you slowly peel back each layer of your assumptions regarding what's going on. Suffice it to say I really enjoyed this one.

**** Christmas Monkeys

This is one of those very short and sweet snippets of Lansdale insanity. You either love 'em or you don't.

I love 'em. If you've read his micro-short "Dog, Cat and Baby" in the Dark Masques collection then you know the kind of cloth this is cut from, a "Godzilla's Ten-Step Program" kind of thing.

**** Christmas with the Dead

Lansdale tries his hand at zombies (I'm sure he has before), and mostly succeeds. I'm not a huge fane of the zombie genre in general, but I did enjoy this story. Not a whole lot new or groundbreaking here - I guess the most you can say is that Lansdale has somehow managed to write a homespun and downright cozy-feeling zombie tale with this one. Not sure how they managed to stretch this out into a movie though. (

UPDATE: I just watched that trailer. Ugh - I don't recommend it. That movie looked cheap and terrible and nothing like the story I just read at all.

*** Quarry

The subtitle of this story notes that it's an "Associational sequel to Richard Matheson's PREY". I love Matheson, and the title "Prey" sounded familiar, but I pulled out my copy of "Richard Matheson Collected Stories Vol. 3" and read the original story again to freshen my memory. It's a story about a small cursed figurine of a Zuni warrior named HE WHO KILLS. Great little tale, I'm going to read it to the kids one of these days.

Anyway, Lansdale tries his hand at telling the story of another unlucky owner of HE WHO KILLS. It's not bad, by any means, but reading this immediately after the original made it pale a bit in comparison. Probably best to let a little time pass between the two.

**** Santa at the Cafe

I had to start with this story, since I had entered my own Santa-themed story previously in a Lansdale-judged short story competition ([b:The Package|18584784|The Package|Evans Light||26322353]).

This story bore no resemblance. Smooth and flowing in typical Lansdale fashion, this crime tale would fit perfectly as a subplot in PULP FICTION. Very enjoyable, and ince to see that the quality is stilll high, even deep into the latter part of the collection.