- Paperback: 466 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1477669922
- ISBN-13: 978-1477669921
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,999,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Uncle B.'s Drive-In Fiction Paperback – September 17, 2012
Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I purchased this book with fairly low expectations; having just watched the drive-in-themed Chillerama, I expected another bout of silliness. What I found was something very different.
Uncle B's Drive-In Fiction collects six Crime/Horror novellas (three double features). But instead of the usual overt silliness of something like Evil Dead 2, we have a series of engaging, moving, and clever stories. The best retain a good sense of humor (for example, the last novella, David James Keaton's "Tap Tap Tap (Snap Snap Snap)"), but behind that humor is always real tension, real drama, and real emotional depth.
I ordered this book because my friend, Matthew C. Funk, has a story in it; surprisingly, though, his story turns out to be one of my least favorite--and not because it is a bad story. His novella, "A Woman and a Gun," is an intense slasher story that follows an abused girl as she evades capture by police and a mysterious murderer. And it is INTENSE. Matt has never been one to shy away from violent description, but where this novella excels is in his reticence: he knows how to give just enough to let the reader supply the rest.
But, like I said, his novella is one of my least favorite in the book--because, as I read on, each novella became my favorite.
The first in the book, Garnett Elliot's "The Shunned Highway," is the story of a 1970s biker gang that quickly turns into a Lovecraftian cult after its leader discovers an ancient fungus in the basement of a house they have broken into. I'll admit that Elliot had me at "Cthulhu Bikers" (as the story is described in Jimmy Callaway's hilarious introduction), but the actual story is so well-paced that it really reads like one of the better '70s b-movies.
Next comes Matthew Funk's slasher novella, which quickly equaled "The Shunned Highway" in my affections.
The third novella (part one of "Screen Two"'s double feature) was also my least favorite: C.J. Edwards' "Suck." This gritty and bizarre story deals with a dead prostitute's search for vengeance after a voodoo curse revives her corpse. Part police noir, part horror story, the novella only falters for veering towards cliche at times (probably not altogether a bad thing, considering that this is a book of b-movie novellas); however, characters like the rookie detective who is assigned the case and the victims parents are so thoroughly developed that despite my misgivings (I am SO OVER ZOMBIES) I was completely drawn in as the plot spiraled towards its conclusion.
After "Suck," each successive novella replaced the previous as my favorite.
First, Jimmy Callaway's "Lupo Danish Never Has Nightmares" tells a fairly simple crime story: a mob's match-man goes off the deep end when he is assigned the task of burning down his old summer camp, and when the mob's henchmen can't bring him in, the titular tough guy is called in to do the job. What starts as a seemingly straightforward crime plot, however, suddenly becomes a deep character study as Callaway begins to show us the back stories behind our two protagonists; just as suddenly, as the final conflict begins, the novella switches to Asian-style supernatural fight-fest, with touches of the final scene of Takashi Miike's Dead Or Alive.
As if the plot weren't enough, the writing of "Lupo Danish" is magnificent, suggesting that Jimmy Callaway could have a real career ahead of him. He writes, for lack of a better phrase, like a "real" writer--a Barbara Vine or Joe Lansdale. Callaway has a style that matches the best.
Next comes Alec Cizak's "National Trust," a simple character study of a young man, fresh out of college, who follows in his father's small-town crime footsteps when his family's reputation makes it impossible for him to get legitimate work. A story of betrayal and resignation, "National Trust" has real relevance in a time when the world seems more and more geared against the American dream. Once again, our characters are believably developed, and the story moves towards the only conclusion possible. Like all good crime novels, it has the doomed feeling of a classical Greek tragedy.
The last novella--and possibly my favorite--is David James Keaton's truly bizarre "Tap Tap Tap (Snap Snap Snap)." The title could be better, but from page one, Keaton drags us into a disarming world of artistically frustrated porn directors, unrequited anarchist love, dead pet vengeance, imaginary tattoos, and drive-in theater terrorism. Hilarious dialogues are coupled with lunatic points of view and--oddly--real loneliness and sadness; in the end, despite all of its fun and weirdness, "Tap Tap Tap" is actually moving.
It has also supplied me with two of my current favorite lines: "the only difference between Jesus and the Karate Kid is holding your right foot about 9 inches higher" --- and "Are you still littering if you set something down real slow?"
This is a really long review, but after reading a book like this, it seems unfair to not give every story its due. You--whoever you are--have got to read this book. HAVE GOT TO. Because as weird as it is, as brutal as one or two of the stories are, every piece of the book is incredibly rewarding. I went into this book assuming I'd kill some time reading a few pages of nonsense--and found something much, much better than I could have imagined.