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Posted July 1, 2014
Dennis Etchison is one of the finest writers of literary horror the genre has ever produced, and THE BLOOD KISS is an excellent addition to his impressive body of work. Etchison's precise, poetic use of language, and his darkly surreal rendition of Southern California as a psychological landscape as much as a physical one, makes THE BLOOD KISS one of the finest collections of dark fiction ever produced.
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Posted July 23, 2014
Themes of abandonment and rejection pervade the thirteen short stories comprising this outstanding collection. Having read Dennis Etchison's first two collections, "The Dark Country" and "Red Dreams," "The Blood Kiss" exceeds my very high expectations.
Etchison is a writer so well-versed in horror scenarios and tropes that he can call up any of them, at any time, and bend them to his bidding. This collection shows off Etchison's genre knowledge. There are special talents explained via science fiction, as in "A Walk In the Wet." There are mutations afoot, as in "A Nice, Shady Place." There is a dystopian world-gone-mad, as in "The Woman In Black," and the fantasy made flesh, as in "Someone Like You."
But these stories are so much more than the expected sci-fi/horror plots, which, it seems, are mere playthings in Etchison's expert hands. His true gift lies in laying bare the loneliness, despair, confusion, vengeful hatred, pettiness, and passion of his characters. I feel his characters' emotions in my heart—and though I read constantly, I find that kind of connection to be a rare occurrence, even in the best work of the best writers. But Etchison consistently finds the place where honesty and horror resonate, reaching reality.
As in most of Etchison's work, you have to really focus on the details, reading with patience. Also, you can't always expect a neatly drawn conclusion. As in real life, closure is rarely achieved. Nor will the point of each story be handed to the reader on a platter. Etchison seems more interested in letting readers figure the meanings out for themselves, or perhaps just be in the moment, riding the shifts in the interior landscape.
My favorite story in this collection is "The Olympic Runner," which is, in my opinion, an absolute classic, a must-read, even, dare I say, a work of genius. It's a story where every person, place, and thing seems to have symbolic meaning. My next favorite tale is the title story, "The Blood Kiss," which is a romp, a tribute to the films and the movie industry life, of which Etchison is a connoisseur. It's got one heck of a Hollywood ending, too.
I'm looking forward to more challenging, fascinating stories from this very gifted writer. --Kirkwood Bell
Posted July 1, 2014
Dennis Etchison is a very fine writer. If more aspired to his high standards the quality of most books would at least double. I mean this with all sincerity. His skill with short stories is exceptional. You can't go wrong here. --Mark FultonWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2014
Posted June 9, 2014
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