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November 28, 2012 / schulerbooks

Permanent Damage, by Michael Montoure

When we last left author Michael Montoure, he’d written a book of horror fiction — Slices — that was, in my opinion, probably the best collection of short, sharp shocks I’ve read since Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts. And I told you that, if you didn’t believe me, you should go read it, and see for yourself.

Hopefully, you did. And I say that because, as you’ve hopefully done so, I’m also hoping you’ll join me in reading his newest collection, Permanent Damage. Because if Slices knocked your socks off, this one’s going to blow you out of your shoes, down the street, and through a brick wall into the secret garden beyond.

No — really. If you liked Montoure’s gleeful sense of the macabre, and his command of not only how to sell and tell the story, but how to end the tale, then you need to get back on board for this further exploration of his talents. These 10 stories (along with an Introduction and Afterword) will happily wrap themselves around the warm coils of your brain, and lovingly squeeze your neurons to juicy paste.

What’s in the box this time? Sinister tales of transgression and transformation, served up with a hearty dollop of dark discovery. We’ve got miraculous magic powers gone sour with use and a gift that may bring answers, but no peace or security. A stubbornly ignored intrusion in daily routine leads to tragedy, as does a strange attempt to reclaim one’s old home. There’s overly friendly killers that you may or may not see coming, a weird attempt to lie about your fate, and family secrets that need sharing with the world whether your relatives like it or not.

And you should see what happens when a monster gets a home makeover.

As always, Montoure’s ability to convince us as the veracity of his imaginings is superb; there’s no question that these shocking things are happening, as opposed to just some outlandish tale conjured up by a hack trying to ape Clive Barker, or out-King Stephen King. The dialogue is engaging, the horrific reveals perfectly timed, and the endings smack-bam on the nose.

If I have one complaint, it’s that while just about all of the offerings are good and scary, I think a few of them are just a little long. Those few could have been a little more effective if they’d been shortened just a jot, though, given how well they work as horror fiction, the overage can — and indeed should — be forgiven, at least by this reviewer. Your mileage may vary, of course.

In Slices, Michael Montoure showed us that he was going places. Permanent Damage proves that he’s more or less arrived. If you’re the sort of person who likes fumbling through the surrounding, sudden darkness that threatens to overtake us at any moment with little more than a flickering candle to show you the way, then this book should be placed in your hand as soon as possible.

Permanent Damage is published by Createspace, and can be ordered through our stores, or our website.

Slices can also be ordered through our stores and website, and read on the Kobo.

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