Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jack's Magic Beans by Brian Keene

I recently finished reading Brian Keene's Jack's Magic Beans, one of the many reissues from Deadite Press. This book contains the title novella as well as four additional short stories, all of which were phenomenal. At about 100 pages I tore through this book in no time at all.

"Jack's Magic Beans" begins like any normal day at the grocery store until people suddenly turn into bloodthirsty psychopaths.  Only four people find themselves unchanged and have to deal with a nightmare of blood and guts and crazies. The only complaint from me is that the story ended too early. I was so engrossed that when I read the last sentence I couldn't help but feel like there was a whole story there to be told and I sort of felt let down. On the other hand, this novella delivers the goods and the characters are so very real that you feel like you're there dealing with the madness they are subjected to.

The four stories that follow are quick little bites of nastiness.  Very poignant and brutal. I particularly liked "Without You," the tale of a man so disgusted with his life that he goes to extreme measures, only he finds that some promises are more powerful than life itself.  "I am an Exit" and "This is Not and Exit" follow, introducing a serial killer Keene promises we will see more of in the future. Serial killer stories are getting bland, but these ones bring the goods. The final story "The King, in: YELLOW" is a crazy tale about a couple who decide their lives are getting dull and that they need to spice things up.  They decide to see a play that some half-cocked bum tells them about which is anything but dull, although perhaps a bit too spicy.

I would suggest this title to any fan of horror.  Nicely written, bloody, bizarre -- good stuff! I am certainly going to buy another Keene title from Deadite press and I suggest you do too. Available HERE

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