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Switchblade (Issue Three) (Volume 1) Paperback – October 7, 2017
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Following my review of the Special Edition of Switchblade Issue 3, my copy of the normal Issue 3 arrived. There was a fair bit of commonality between the two versions of Issue 3, so I’ve included my earlier comments below for the pieces I read in the Special.
However, the pieces I hadn’t read before were a real treat. I was especially impressed with Robert Smith’s “Duke’s Birthday Bash” – the description of a certain class of Englishman was so on the money, and it was a great story. Going to go looking for more of Smith’s work, for sure. For the flash fiction extra, Joe Ricker’s “Baggage” managed a very dark look at some sad lives in just 3 pages – great work. And there was another poem, “Switchblade: A Screwdriver for the Skin”, this one by Zakariah Johnson. Whilst poetry and noir don’t seem like a match, this verse does it, and viscerally so – I even got a bit squeamish. But then I’m terrified of bloody needles, so a superb, poetic description of a blade doing its nasty work is guaranteed to set my skin on edge.
From my earlier review of the Special Edition...
I really, really enjoyed all the pieces in the collection. Personally, I prefer short stories over flash fiction, I think because there's more story development by definition, but everything here was very good indeed. The short story set opens with Preston Lang, already a firm favourite of mine, and he delighted darkly as always with "Press It Down". Nice twist as usual, loved it. "Crawdaddy" by J.D. Graves is noir at its best with great characters, bent cops, and twisted tragedy all round! And for more twisted mayhem with outstanding female sexual predators, Calvin Demmer's "The Lioness Must Hunt" is femmes fatales taken to a new level - I don't want to meet those ladies, ever! There were also great short stories from Charles Roland, Eric Beetner, Ehren Baker, and Morgan Boyd.
Then the flash fiction rounded it out, with pieces from J.L. Boekestein, Richard Risemberg and Michael Loniewski.
Yep, as we are coming to expect, if you love noir and hard-boiled, then Switchblade delivers, both barrels at once!
Great work again, Mr Rutherford! BRAVO!
And I've got some more authors to get hold of novels from!
Press it Down by Preston Lang is a taught, heartbreaking tune that shines a light on not only the inequities of the creative industry but also the human soul in general. The Kid in Love by Charles Roland is a touching tale of a vulnerable warrior doing what warriors do. Family Secrets by Eric Beetner is a well-done, gripping coming of age story that makes you wonder about that “average guy” who’s your next door neighbor. Crawdaddy by J.D. Graves serves up a hot mess of a situation that includes crawfish, a Faro who can’t math, a peckerwood cop, regret and a father and daughter just trying to live with the fallout of it all the best they know how. The Rook by Ehren Baker is a bitter slice of noir in a bleak office where dreams and hustles play out to fill the voids within. Burning Snow by Morgan Boyd is a fast-paced, hard-hitting tale of snow shovelers, hoods, love-pain, shady characters and the cold, cold sensation of the past catching up. The Lioness Must Hunt by Calvin Demmer shows us that the fairer sex doesn’t always play fair—especially when the hunt is on. In Duke’s Birthday Bash by Robert Smith, a Scottish accent and a little charm go a long way with a gatekeeper, while a noir poser gets the birthday gift of a big-time reality check. Ride On by J.L. Boekestein shows us that “those nights” really do happen in the limo business. Only you never really know where they’ll take everyone. The Price of a Burger by Richard Risemberg is an engaging, late-night frenetic Hollywood mainline that punches you in the face like a pissed off Marine. Bushido meets the Board Room in Modern Samurai by Mike Loniewski, where honor is everything and it’s all fun and games until you mess with the family business. And in Baggage by Joe Ricker, the streets of New Orleans teach lost souls on a collision course that there’s no running away from fate.
If none of that sounds interesting I can’t do nothin’ for you, mano.