I don’t review in the traditional sense: I don’t assign ratings or stars, or warble on and on about something a friend has written that (if truth be told, as it so seldom is) is riddled with typos and has at least one plot hole that a medium-duty truck could drive through without scraping the rear-view mirrors.
Instead, if I read something that makes me happy, really happy, for some identifiable reason, I might be inspired to tell you about it here. Mate from Lauren Burka got my attention that way, because of the truly outstanding world building. Angela Benedetti‘s Candy Courage inspired me to start typing, and given the sheer volume of my reading, that puts it in a special class.
Don’t get me wrong: I read a lot, and enjoy much of it. If I talk about it here, it’s because there is something extraordinary about it. You guys don’t much want to hear about the fabulously interesting book I’m nearly finished with, about the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park, and how a previous eruption buried much of Nebraska under two feet of ash and assisted in the extinction of much of the area’s megafauna…
In fact, you might think that burying Nebraska is an awfully good idea, because it’s interfering with my discussion of this lovely short story that features hot guys screwing each other silly. But if the hot guys dunking dickie was all this story was about, it wouldn’t be special enough to mention.
The trigger-tripper was the tiny magical element that fueled this Halloween tale; the elderly man adds a special ingredient each year to the treats he shares with the neighborhood. This year it’s courage, but what did he add in previous years, I wondered, and what unintended consequences did it have? For surely the old man did not plan that a father of a trick-or-treater would become brave enough to take the offered treat. That treat was very sweet indeed, and good reading on its own, but the tiny vignettes of the other trick-or-treaters who gained enough courage to do something they desired but had hung back from added a human element that lifted the story above the usual younghandsomemeninbed tale.
Because framing the fear and desire of one man to reach out to another in terms of a child touching a dog that outweighs her and whose huge jaws are so near her face is a stroke of genius. I’ll be reading this again.
Find a good read here.