I Smell Blood by Ralph Robert Moore; Sentence Publishing; 2011; 282 pgs; $18.00 US
Ralph Robert Moore’s second collection confirms the excellent qualities displayed in his previous book “Remove the Eyes”, namely a powerful imagination, an extraordinary degree of originality and a great storytelling ability .
“I Smell Blood” collects eight stories ( six reprints plus two previously unpublished tales) and a brand new short novel.
“The Little Girl Who Lives in the Woods” is a cruel, extremely dark story about spoiled innocence, loneliness and violence, while “In the Tunnels of the Agogs” is an offbeat, surrealistic piece where a man has to rescue his wife from the stomach of a strange animal.
Talking of weird creatures, a giant frog dominates the background of “When the Big One Thaws”, a splendid tale of horror and betrayal, while in “Rain Turns to Snow” a married couple is haunted by an increasing number of mysterious snowmen.
There is an unusual but quite effective Zombie tale (“ Fleeing On A Bycicle From the Living Dead”) and a perceptive piece graced by a superb characterization, featuring two scuba divers who find the body of a missing young girl ( “Visibility”).
Proving that Moore is getting better and better, the two new stories are top notch. “Afoot” masterfully describes, blending tragedy and humor, the incredible encounter between a middle aged man and an obnoxious girl working at a dry cleaner . “The Man Who Would Jump Off Roofs”, a very enjoyable tale with a quite original plot and excellent dialogues , features a man endowed with an extremely peculiar gift.
In the final novel “Kid” Moore cooks a tasty dish using many ingredients: crime, a lot of sex, a touch of supernatural (the main character is a teenager with the uncommon ability of “head-hopping”) a bit of grotesque (the head of the crime mob is a violent cop always wearing a mask) and a grain of thriller (the kid’s task is to retrieve an important number from the mind of a government official). The result is a phantasmagorical , overwhelming piece of fiction apt to entertain, upset and delight the reader.
A highly recommended book.
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