Friday, January 07, 2011

REVIEW: "Raven Wings and 13 More Twisted Tales" by Frank G. Poe, Jr.

Frank Poe has compiled an intriguing collection of stories, poems, and artwork. The tales are short, very readable, and certainly twisted- some with better twists than others. Some made me cringe, some surprised me in a fun way, some made me think, and some just left me thinking "eh..."

The book starts off with a lengthy introduction that discusses the writer's own experiences with an illness that brought him close to death, and  then discusses reincarnation and religion. It's a manifesto of sorts, and an interesting introduction, to be sure, but I didn't quite see how it tied in with the stories as promised. It seemed almost like a short story in itself- interesting, thought-provoking, and only loosely related to the rest of the collection. The poetry and images interspersed throughout added a refreshing change of pace. I felt the poetry, in particular, was a commentary on life, and it more closely delivered that connection to which the introduction alluded.

Nicely written, the stories in this book are quite engaging and make for quick reads. As the tales didn't appear to be related, this is an ideal collection for small blocks of reading time. Just pick up the book, read a story or two, and put it down again until you have some more time. One of my favorite Christmas gifts as a child was a short story collection by Stephen King. The idea that machines could be blood-thirsty, that danger lurks in cellars, that seemingly innocuous items could hide evil... true horror at its finest. I was also a huge fan of The Twilight Zone, where a twist would turn everything you thought to be true upside-down. This collection brought to mind those types of themes. In some stories, the author manages to take some familiar concepts and twist them to be something else. In others, it's a twist on a familiar tale. It is truly an eclectic collection with a common theme of "twisted." I wanted some of the stories to go further and tell me much, much more, and I found others to be perfectly written "as is." For example, "The Tell-Tale Door" and "The Purple Basketball" seemed to have just the right touch of suspense and surprise, while "A little Bit of Java" and "Deliverance Vs. Silence of the Lambs" left me wanting for more meat (no pun intended!) and that satisfying twist seemed to be lacking.

Overall, a nice collection that can be read over and over to catch all the little nuances that gave the meaning behind the words. Recommended for fans of the genre.

3.5 /5 stars

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

No comments: