Okay, so this really isn’t horror. Does it matter? Laugh your ass off and then decide what you want to call this quintet of perfectly crafted stories mostly about, well, jerks.
John McIlveen has been rising through the ranks steadily through the past few years, from penning a tale in the seminal Borderlands 5 anthology to having one of the strongest entries in 2011′s MONSTER’S CORNER. Far from being a one trick pony, McIlveen writes in several genres with ease, yet when JERKS was being touted as “humor” (in a dark way), the eyebrows would rise with doubt. It’s not secret that being funny is a hell of a lot easier than WRITING funny but right here is a big, smiling surprise.
The first story, a novelette, entitled “Jerks” has more one-liners in it than a “Who’s who” of celebrity comedians as the main character deals with the jerks in her life and runs away from the world that has screwed her over.
Her world becomes something, well, new would be an apt word when she hits a dog. It doesn’t sound funny but let’s just say the animal survives and alters her life in a way that is sure to turn heads.
“Playing The Huddys,” (based on a true story) is hysterical in a baseball by way of “Deliverance” while “Signs” is just flat out wrong in so many ways – all of them just right.
“The Perfect Man” seems like something not out of place in New Orleans, the setting of the story, but too short. All of them are – the laughs could go on for much, much longer.
JERKS closes with “Saddled Vengeance,” a story that just needs to be read and is a fine choice to close out the collection.
McIlveen has shown his unique storytelling chops for years now and JERKS is a great buy. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a great story and full belly laugh.
— Dave Simms
Apr 15, 2013
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