Friday, October 8, 2010

The Ash Angels by Ian Rogers

This review is looooong overdue.

I have to say, 2010 has been pretty good for publications, but as a year...it's sucked something fierce. Thankfully, Ian Rogers has come swooping down on great big angel wings to fix everything with this incredible little chap book.

Just when I thought that Rogers had reached perfection, he comes slamming out of the gates with The Ash Angels - a brand new story featuring the hilarious, sarcastic, and incredible anti-hero Felix Renn. To say that Rogers is poised to do something great would be an understatement (have I said that before?). He's already proven himself once - with Temporary Monsters, and now he's just reminding you who's boss.

It’s a cold winter’s night and private investigator Felix Renn is still haunted by his experience in the Black Lands - that dark dimension populated by dangerous supernatural entities. After discovering a strange mark on the snow-covered ground, Felix finds himself thrust into a deadly race against time to protect the city from a paranormal plague that preys on all the dark secrets of the human soul. But what is Felix to do when the next victim is himself?

This chapbook exceeded my expectations in all respects. It'd been a long hard year waiting for the follow up the Temporary Monsters, but every little bit has been worth it. Rogers has taken his incredible main character - Felix Renn - and expanded the story, bringing a more emotional and descriptively dark side of his writing style out for all to see. The pace is fast, the writing tight, but most important of all (to me) - this piece is pitch black in humor and style.

Rogers' descriptions call forth a sort of dark, gothic feel - making the streets of Toronto feel a little more dangerous, and a little more capable of producing the creatures that Renn has to face on a regular basis. Like I said before, this story bleeds raw emotion that really lives on the page and infects the reader. I dare you not to be completely enthralled by the images and the power of the story. It'd be an impossible task, to resist.

As with Temporary Monsters, Rogers has blown the doors off with a wicked and incredible opening line. It seems that strong openings are Rogers' forte, but the words that follow are just as strong, and just as potent as the rest. There isn't a single thing wrong with this one but for the fact that it's entirely too short for the potential it has. To see a full length Renn novel would be incredible. I really can't wait.

As usual, you can catch of Rogers on Twitter and on his own personal website. For all of your Felix Renn needs, visit The Black Lands.

PBH.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Last Straw by Gord Rollo

Posting a review of the same book twice isn't something I ever plan to do, but I feel that this case kind of warrants it. Well, in a way. This isn't actually a review of Valley Of The Scarecrow. No, it's actually a review of the short story that is included in the A-Z lettered, leather bound, hardcover edition that is available at Dark Regions Press.

And don't you worry, I'll keep it short.

The Last Straw is one of the most intense, emotional, and beautifully written pieces of fiction that I have read in a very long time. The story ties directly into the history of Valley Of The Scarecrow, giving the reader a bit more information as to what happened all those years ago, when Angus and some of the other citizens decided it was time to put an end to the Reverend's reign of terror in the little community of Miller's Grove.

I cannot stress enough how incredible this story is. The set up is fantastic - bringing absolute clarity to some of the questions one might have about the story it precludes. Not only that, but the character of Angus is fleshed out in a more satisfying and 'fatherly' way. The Reverend - pre-monster - is also shown to be almost more terrifying than he is in VOTS, eliciting more emotional terror than I've previously encountered from a short story, in a while.

This story alone, is worth paying the extra cash for the Dark Regions edition of Valley Of The Scarecrow.

You can grab it here in both A-Z Lettered, leather bound hardcover (for $99) or in a signed, limited hardcover edition(for $50) - only from Dark Regions Press. A reminder: The Last Straw is only available in the A-Z Lettered edition.

PBH.