Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book Review: 'Wrathbone and Other Stories' by Jason Parent

Who would have imagined that thoughts could be this scary?
The main character in “Wrathbone” was a man named Henry who was dangerously obsessed with the strange circumstances surrounding the death of President Lincoln. What I liked the most about him was how much time he spent talking about his theories about what really happened when the president died and what he wished he would have done differently that day. I can’t say much else about this part of the plot without giving away spoilers, but it sure did bring out a chilling side to the main character’s life. It was also interesting to compare the logical and supernatural explanations for why Henry behaved the way he did. There was plenty of evidence for both interpretations of what was going on, so I was able to pick the one I personally thought made for a better story.
One of the first things I noticed about Bradley in “The Only Good Lawyer” was how determined he was to fight for the accused murdered he was defending. This character had a strong desire to win that shaped so many different parts of his personality. I was also surprised by how meekly he reacted to the voodoo priest who was called to the stand by the prosecution. It wasn’t something I was expecting from him at all, but that scene made me incredibly curious to find out what actually happened the night the victim died and if Bradley’s assumptions about what going on with the priest were true. This was my favourite tale in the collection.
Dorian, the main character in “Dorian’s Mirror,” wasn’t an easy guy to like at all. His arrogance and narcissism gave me such a negative first impression of him that I struggled to stay interested in his life. It would have been nice if the narrator’s description of him had included positive or even neutral aspects to it as well to balance Dorian out a bit. With that being said, I enjoyed seeing how he reacted to all of the bizarre things that began happening to him. They were so out of the ordinary that his horrified responses made perfect sense.
The relationship between a man and his parrot is like nothing else on earth. In “For the Birds,” Nev’s bond with his bird, Joji, is tested by a violent robbery in ways that have to be read to be believed. The dialogue was by far my favorite part of their home invasion. I never would have guessed that a parrot spoke and understood as many different words as Joji did. Including a non-human character who was this talkative was such a creative decision.
“Revenge Is a Dish” followed a man named Maurice after he made the biggest mistake of his career by accepting his dream job as a chef on a yacht and then having an affair with the boss’ wife. The best part of this one was how the plot kept on moving every time I was sure I’d reached the end. There were a lot of grisly surprises tucked into it, and that made it a great deal of fun to read.
I’d recommend Wrathbone and Other Stories to anyone who is in the mood for something truly frightening.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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