DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

Norman Partridge
Night Shade Books/$27 (trade)/ Hardcover/ 429 pp.
ISBN: 1892389118

cover These 24 stories collected in THE MAN WITH THE BARBED WIRE FISTS are as smooth as aged whiskey and pack the wallop of white lightning. If Norman Partridge weren't already ranked with the best, this collection of his distinctive short stories would place him there. With sensibilities honed on drive-in movies and the badass bigness of the American West (both mythic and real), he consistently writes unforgettable and unique stories. Whether delivering the goods with new turns of the trope (vampires, werewolves, man-created monsters, zombies, man's cruelty to man), delving into the crime noir or serving up a slice of red-blooded American violence; offering second chances, going gonzo, examining the pitfalls of love, or just dancing in the dark -- Partridge is one hell of a writer. (Blackberry jam is a "color just short of black, the same color as a tattered human heart." "Leonora had the perceptive abilities of a blind armadillo." The bird's black wings slapped like torn shadows." "The sky was a rich red scream.") He creates living, breathing characters more fully developed in the space of a paragraph or three than most writers can with the length of a novel. The introduction alone -- the real-life tale of how drive-in movies made him a writer -- is worth the price of the book.

If, by some misfortune, you have never read Mr. Partridge here's a superb chance to discover his immense talent. If you are already acquainted, you'll be even more impressed than you were before. (June 2001) -- Paula Guran, originally appeared in Cemetery Dance #36

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.