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Currency of Souls Hardcover – January 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Burke expands on the bar-tale theme of his 2005 anthology, Taverns of the Dead, in a gripping horror novel whose motley cast of characters drink the evening away in a seedy bar, Eddie's Tavern, in a dying town called Milestone. Each is stained by—and may even have caused—an ugly death that still haunts him or her. Reverend Hill acts as judge and jury, ordering the barflies to go punish others in order to make restitution for their past sins. But then someone torches the bar, revealing the true evil crouched at the core of this beer-soaked corner of hell. Sheriff Tom Turner, who just wants "things to be the way they were before my wife died... before we all ended up here as slaves to our sins," bargains to save the town, but the cost may be too much to bear. At the haunting conclusion, escape proves only a brief respite from damnation. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Burke's anthologyTaverns of the Dead (2004) featured stories of supernatural shenanigans in beleaguered barrooms. Now he takes the conceit a step further in his own gruesome dissection of the tormented patrons of Eddie's Tavern. In the deteriorating back-road town of Milestone, Eddie's is the lone watering hole for an assortment of angst-ridden locals, ranging from mute, giant Wintry McCabe to Milestone's sheriff, Tom Turner. Each carries the burden of having directly or indirectly killed someone, and each endures a ritual Saturday-night assignment from the diabolical Reverend Hill to rid the world of another evildoer and thereby cancel out his or her sins. But when the good reverend is dispatched by a bullet, and Eddie's burns to the ground, the stakes in the game of redemption become higher than anyone could have imagined, and Milestone's haunted citizens soon learn their purgatory may be everlasting. Burke's sharp-edged prose includes enough unforgettable characterizations and dollops of macabre wit to distinguish him as one of the most clever and original talents in contemporary horror.^B Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596060697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596060692
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,034,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
-

Courage.

When I finished reading Kealan Patrick Burke's latest novel, Currency of Souls, that was the word that came first and foremost to my mind. Courage. It takes some mighty large cajones to write a book like this. To take a large cast, give each and every one an uber-detailed, dark and dirty past, throw them in a cocktail shaker called Milestone, throw the contents onto the bar like a toss of the dice, and to have the balls to honestly record on the page whatever insane asylum train wreck comes up... Good God!

What the hell is this book even about? Debt? The Devil? Revenge? Regret? Sixties lounge singers? Native American Mythology? Murder? Fathers and Sons? Husbands and Wives? It's like an unsettling feeling that you can't quite describe... or one you don't want to describe. I know that the story moved me. I know that the story stretched my imagination to its limits to keep up with what it was being force-fed. Like a grisly car crash, I know that I couldn't look away once I caught a glimpse. I know that it doesn't come close to falling into the contemporary genre categories. I know that when I finished reading it I felt like I was privy to information that I never wanted to know, but that I now need to know.

I know that I loved every second of it.

As a reader, every once in a great while you get the opportunity to experience a story that doesn't just go against the grain, it scratches it up beyond comprehension leaving broken and bloody fingernails behind... and still succeeds as a brilliant story. Every once in a great while, you get to come across as story that questions everything you thought you knew about what the concept of story means. Burke has made me question everything about reading and writing, and for that, I thank him.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
where can you find it?" (p. 59) Not in the godforsaken town of Milestone, that's for sure, which functions as purgatory's waiting room with an usherer being installed and eager to pass on his diabolic vocation to some unlucky resident.
The fast paced, multifarious threads of fate unfold for the most part from Sheriff Tom's first person narrative who wants more than anything else to reconnect with his estranged son. The tone of the novel is definitely grim befitting macabre horror about wrong choices, missed opportunities, and their dire consequences and hopelessness. However, a good deal of sardonic humour peppers the proceedings, manifesting not infrequently in witty analogies/similes vaguely reminiscent those of Joe R. Lansdale. Just a few of these for your consideration:

"He looks like a hungover werewolf caught in mid-transformation, and knows only four jokes" (p. 7); "that feels to me like a brand new nightmare fresh from the devil's womb, waiting to be christened by the ignorant" (p. 46); "[t]his is like being dragged for ten miles naked across a gravel highway until you tumble into a mound of salt and fire ants after being skinned alive and havin' boilin' water poured over you" (p. 65).

For some reason, during the course of the last fifth of the book, from about page 160 onward, the story goes somewhat downhill with the inclusion of further characters (the cursed wooden Amerindian Red Cloud and his obsidian son Blue Moon being pursued by a herd of homicidal deer, etc.), maybe because the Irish author felt he was running out of ammunition. Up to that point I really like the intense chemistry stemming from the characters' troubled relationships...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Burke is one of my favorite horror authors. I read the novella "Saturday at Eddie's" and just needed to know the rest of the story. A little confusing at times. Lots of symbolism. It's definitely a story you'll need to read twice. But worth it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the dead-end town of Milestone, Eddie's bar has its regulars; a diverse group of sinners looking for retribution or escape.

No one is as they seem and as the story takes off and the cast grows, things take a series of unexpected twists. Vehicular manslaughter and fires abound, Eddie's rises like a Phoenix to claim its victims. Currency of Souls is a story of death and rebirth, retribution and transformation.

The writing is amazing, the descriptions incredible, but you have to be able to stretch a bit imagination-wise because along the way are killer deer, the ghost of Dean Martin, and a wooden Indian. If I said those things didn't distract me a bit, I'd be lying, but it was well worth the read. An unusual story, told in beautiful prose, rich with description and with characters so lively it's as if I was sitting in Eddie's with them.
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Definitely a weird story that in no way can be taken at face value. Be prepared to think your way through this one =) Very skilled writing. The ending was a little weak but not enough to take away too much from everything else that was so good.
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Format: Hardcover
KP Burke is well on his way to being the new master of "quiet horror." However, CURRENCY is wild, over-the-top, violent, and about as far from "quiet horror" as it gets. Guess what? He still rocks. If you haven't read this guy, you don't know what you're missing.
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