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Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths by Colleen…

Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths

by Colleen Morris

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Fried! is a collection of short horror stories with a brilliant premise--fast food. Having worked in a fast food establishment during my university days, I am well versed in the nastiness and frankly horrific experiences of a fast food joint. What better a place to give birth to ground-chuck monstrosities--what really lurks beneath the grease vats? What lives in the dumpster outside? What secrets does the meat refrigerator hold? I was ready to cozy up on a nice rainy night, zombie movie playing in the background, and get down with this book.

For what it is, Fried! does not disappoint. However, as is a problem with many short story anthologies, certain stories are better (or significantly worse) than others. On the whole, I can say that the majority of stories in this anthology have good, solidly creepy ideas. It is the level of writing, however, that fails to execute and impress. This was a labor of love that took not only established authors' work, but also took on amateur writers' entries--which is an admirable effort, but leaves the result a bit uneven. Certain stories had a clear level of polish and a distinct voice that others lacked, which caused a kind of disjointed reading experience. I found that the stories either were very very good, or very very bad.

In the very good category, I would single out Shanna Germain's "Sugar Pie, Honey Pie" (my favorite of the book), Michael Josef's "Station 19", the pretty funny James Patrick Cobb's "The FNG", Ken Goldman's "Lunchtime at the Justice Café", Joel A. Sutherland's "The Bocan", and Matt Hults' "Feeding Frenzy" (my second favorite story). Each of these stories not only wrote with a distinct voice that felt real and characters that had dimension, but most importantly had a distinct ending that made sense in context of the story. A major problem with many of the stories in this book (and with many horror stories and movies in general) is the finish line stumble. I applaud each of the above authors for hitting an ending note that worked. In "Sugar Pie, Honey Pie", I admired Ms. Germain's creation of a female character that was put in a compromised situation, and for the sake of her daughter and sister makes a sacrifice of her own. Plus, there's something distinctly creepy about sticky sweet fast food pies, and the `Queen Bee' female hierarchy under the guise of a sweet Grandma type. "Feeding Frenzy" was reminiscent of a Stephen King type of story (think "1408" meets "The Shining" in a fast food restaurant). A perfect note to end the anthology with--I finished with a satisfied smile on my face. (That sounds kind of morbid doesn't it? What can I say, I love a good scare). Mr. Sutherland's entry "The Bocan" takes the idea of a Bocan (a gaelic spirit) as the beneficient/malevolent wish granting entity much like a Djinn. A short, and effective tale, if an old one.

There were, unfortunately, a number of stories that left me shaking my head, D.L. Snell's "Meat Drippings" and M.P. Johnson's "Snail Wart" among them.

Having said that...I enjoyed this book, while some of the stories were awful, there were some hidden gems in there as well which make it worth reading if you are a horror fan. Good entry by new smaller publishing firm Graveside Tales, and another big plus since it is available at bigger retailers, notably here at amazon. Show the smaller publishers some love, and pick it up. It's not every day you get a creative indie-feel kind of effort like this that is readily available to the public!

Full Review at:

Interview with Joel A. Sutherland at:
http://thebooksmugglers.blogspot.com/2008/02/fried-interview-with-joel-sutherlan... ( )
  TheBookSmugglers | Feb 12, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0980133807, Paperback)

Fried! contains 23 original tales of horror set in and around fast food restaurants. Each story is written and illustrated by some of today's newest writers and illustrators. Think Stephen King meets Super Size Me. The book so controversial that a major restaurant chain tried to CENSOR it! Get your fill of monsters, maniacs, murderers and milkshakes. Devour the tale of a band of hobos who crave human flesh. Chow down on the myth of an abandoned restaurant that serves as a gateway for lost and demented souls. Gorge yourself on the story of the veggie burger that turns human beings into human beans. Pig out on the account of the fast food joint that stands as humanity's last hope for survival in a zombie-infested world. These stories and more from: . D.L. Snell . Gregg Winkler . Michael Josef . Christopher J. Dwyer . Michael Hultquist . Bret Jordan . Shanna Germain . H.F. Gibbard . Andy Kirby . Kevin Lightburn . Jodi Lee . James Patrick Cobb . Cody Goodfellow . Rodney J. Smith . Stephen Leclerc . David Dunwoody . Lisa Becker . MP Johnson . Cheryl Rainfield . Ken Goldman . KJ Kabza . Joel A. Sutherland . Matt Hults

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:23 -0400)

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