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“I Smell Blood” collects eight stories  ( six reprints plus two previously unpublished tales) and a brand new short novel.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.


Mar 20, 2011

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