Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Review: Thanksgiving For Werewolves and Other Monstrous Tales
3 Stars - Recommended to fans of light monster fiction, more for the fun of it than the fur and teeth of it
Publisher: Tiny Toe Press
As I review this, there is a part of me that thinks I should hold off and post it closer to Thanksgiving. (Much like when Giano Cromley and I decided to host the Author/Reader Discussion for his novel The Last Good Halloween in October, as close to the holiday as we could get. Makes sense, right?) But seeing as how ML Kennedy's forthcoming Thanksgiving for Werewolves deals more so with monsters or monstrous things, I think it fits in with the whole Halloween theme just as nicely.
The opening story, Dinosaurs versus Cyborgs, revolves around two girls shooting the shit in their local mall, mentally preparing themselves for an imaginary attack on their city by the likes of a godzilla-ish creature. Though cute and incredibly pointless in the ways of most conversations between teenage girlfriends, it does little to prepare the reader for the bizarre outlandishness Kennedy has planned for us in the rest of the collection.
The title story - more a novelette, and smartly placed in the number two spot - however, kicks things off with a bang. In it, we meet Christopher, a second rate indie wrestler, who just wants to chill out in a restaurant with a couple of buddies when, without warning, the world as they know it is changed forever. Chalk it up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fellow patrons a table away suddenly begin donning fur skins, which immediately transform the wearer into the animal of the skin it donned. It's like shape-shifting, only without the painful and disgusting body contortions. As teeth begin to gnash and people begin to die, Chris does what any respectable person does and hides in the bathroom. But of course, he gets sniffed out and the rest of the story follows Chris and his numerous attempts to outrun, outsmart, and ultimately outlive those magical, monstrous beasts. Hyenas and foxes and bears, oh my!
Sprinkled throughout the rest of the book are stories of zombie inoculations, of bad things hidden in the back of basements, of a vampire who will only kill when absolutely necessary, of a man who finds a strange hair growing out of his chest and soon discovers that the hair is the LEAST of his worries (this one kinda grossed me out a bit), of a roommate with an awful secret to hide...
ML Kennedy infuses each story with his unique brand of humor, eschewing all out blood-and-gore for more of a feel-good funny sort of horror. These characters, they're like your every day, average, schmuck-next-door types. The kind of people that would never think of finding themselves face to face with a walking, talking vampire, or a fur-donning werething, and they react in the same ways you and I might. First with disbelief - this isn't happening, there is no fucking way this is really happening; then with the dawning realization of the situation - oh shit, did you see that thing's teeth, this can't be happening, I can't believe this is happening, holy fuck; and then RUUUUUNNNNNNN! And Kennedy's writing style is extremely simplistic and conversational. No fancy-pantsing or hi-browing here, folks. He's certainly not a word-waster, getting right down to the nitty gritty of it all.
The stories as a whole were fun and flirtatious. This is a collection that does not intend to be taking seriously (or, at least, that was my assumption as I was reading it). A super quick read for those of you who are looking not for a book that begs to keep the light on at night, but for one that solicits a side-grin every now and then.
Currently unassigned a release date and still moving through the editing process, Thanksgiving for Werewolves will be published at some future date by Tiny Toe Press.