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The Beautiful Red by James Cooper
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The Beautiful Red

by James Cooper

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I hate this star rating system. I'd give this book a 3.5, just to be clear. But the rating really isn't what's important, it's what I babble on about in this little box. Right? Good.

Do you like horror? Short fiction? Short horror fiction written so that the stories seep into your brain, remaining there long after you close the book to give you another chill when you least expect it, without the use of unnecessary gore and other such amateur tactics? (yep, that's a horrible sentence) If the answer to that is yes, then this is the book for you. Cooper's writing style is relaxed, easy to read, which makes each story effortless to slip into. The first story is my favorite, because it still lingers with me, but they're all worth reading, IMO.

In other words, I recommend Beautiful Red. ( )
  ReneeMiller | Feb 25, 2016 |
I want to start of by saying that as a general rule, I tend to stay away from horror genre, unless the premise of the story is just too intriguing to pass up. Having never been a fan of Stephen King novels and the like, I was surprised to discover that I really enjoyed the stories in Cooper's short story collection.

The book's forward, written by Christopher Fowler, calls this a revival of British horror writing. The 12 stories are all tales of madness and dysfunction, manifested in some form or another. The story 'Albion' had a slight Twilight Zone feel to it that appealed to me and I found the stories 'There's Something Wrong with Pappy', 'The Family Face' and 'Because Your Blood is Darker Than Mine' great stories of suspense and shock.

I did not like 'We Are the Pigs' - to graphic for my tastes - even though it had an interesting premise of sections of the story be interspersed with dialogue between the two fictitious writers that were composing the story. Nothing like reading two writers bickering over descriptive prose for what has the appearance of shaping up to be a slasher story!

'The Hack'- the story of a writer's obsessive round the clock typing having a profound effect on his neighbor - was more of a creepy surreal tale than one of horror and probably my favorite story in the collection.

In summary, great stories to curl up with on a wet, stormy night. ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Sep 30, 2010 |
Showing 2 of 2
Through all the stories run images of impending death, damaged children, broken families and corruption, forming the thematic threads articulating the book’s skeleton.
’There’s Something Wrong with Pappy’ is one of the best in the book, improving with each re-​​reading.
Like all Cooper’s best work, there is something fairytale-​​like about the story [’The Family Face’].
These stories as a whole form a gestalt of a book… Certainly, while it is less than a novel, “The Beautiful Red” is more than the sum of its individual stories, and forms an impressive collection which will only add to a reputation that continues to grow.
 
The Beautiful Red is James Cooper’s second collection of short stories. It’s twelve stories long, and four of those stories are better than just about anything else you’ve ever read.
… The Beautiful Red is packed with fantastic writing and powerful emotion. My skin is still crawling just thinking about it.
 
At the heart of every tale in Cooper’s latest collection of meticulously crafted horror is a disquieting, iconic figure or image. … While independent publisher Atomic Fez may not yet be positioned to introduce Cooper to a wider audience, the quality of his output so far easily matches that of the best-​​known talents in contemporary horror.
added by iamiam | editALA's "Booklist", Carl Hays (Apr 1, 2010)
 
Cooper's lackadaisical second collection of macabre tales (after 2007's "You Are the Fly") leaves much to be desired. … Worst of all for a horror collection, there are few moments of real terror or dread. The majority of readers will share the emptiness described by Victor, the narrator of "Eight Small Men": I try to remember how this should make me feel, but there's nothing there. (Apr.)
added by iamiam | editPublishers Weekly (Mar 15, 2010)
 
“There’s Something Wrong With Pappy”… chronicles the dissolution of a family after the death of the mother, with sympathetic magic… and all sorts of micro/​macro shifts of perspective… but also eerie and strangely compelling… Even better is “Eight Small Men”… with events past and present informing each other, and excellent characterisation throughout… a moving and powerful story, and testament to what Cooper can accomplish when he stretches himself.
… As so often with Cooper [in “My Secret Children”] there’s the suggestion of something else going on in the background… it’s the ideal note on which to end this collection by one of the most promising writers to emerge from the small press pack in recent years.
added by iamiam | editBlack Static, Peter Tennant
 
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Book description
Red…
The colour that surrounds us as we enter the world;
the colour that consumes us when we die.

Red…
The colour of life and everything in it.

Red…
The colour we produce when we scream…

The Beautiful Red
12 extraordinary tales of madness and dysfunction,
inhabiting the red world, where only the sound of our violence can be heard…

A brand-​​new collection of twelve horror tales from James Cooper. His second collection comes complete with a foreword from the Award-​​Winning Master of Urban Horror Christopher Fowler

Certain tropes and themes emerge here, repeating and revolving in uncomfortable permutations; human simulacra, corrupted children, acts of creation, the bones beneath the skin, lives warped and poisoned, innocence lost, loneliness and the ever present sensation of impending death. Luckily, James manages to weave these elements into his plots in a way that entertains, otherwise he’d have his readers cutting their throats.
—Christopher Fowler (from his foreword)
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Atomic Fez Publishing

2 editions of this book were published by Atomic Fez Publishing.

Editions: 0981159702, 0981159761

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