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Black Leather Required by David J. Schow
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0929480295, Hardcover)

"Eating 'em was more fun than blowing their gnarly green heads off. But why dicker when you could do both? The fresher ones were blue. That was important if you wanted to avoid cramps, salmonella. Eat a green one and you'd be yodeling down the big porcelain megaphone in no time."

Those are the opening lines of "Jerry's Kids Meet Wormboy," a justifiably (in)famous Romero-world zombie tale presented here in a collection for the first time. That gives you just a taste (heh heh) of the bold horror imagery and witty metaphors (or shall we call them tropes?) that are David J. Schow's trademark. Black Leather Required is a knockout collection: 12 superb stories (some new, some reprinted), one short play in the Grand Guignol style, an introduction by John Farris, and an afterword by Schow himself. It's all beautifully produced by Mark V. Ziesing. (Click on the cover for a larger view of the dramatic cover painting.)

The stories include a remarkably sharp tale about dinosaurs ("Sedalia"), a delightfully manic number about roadside violence in the Arizona desert ("Bad Guy Hats"), the tale of a loathsome near-death ("Scoop Makes a Swirly"), and varied sagas of the recently dead or the undead having a good ol' time. As Farris writes in the intro, Schow is "like a Gothic Absurdist, an urbanized Cormac McCarthy, but with a hip, mean sense of fun.... He punishes you, then he winks and punishes you some more. Friends, I do this for a living, and I'm not easily impressed, but the can-you-top-this operatic exuberance David conjures with mere words is a cause for, not censorship, but celebration." --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:07 -0400)

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