MURDER BALLADS AND OTHER HORRIFIC TALES is an excellent example of how wide and varied short stories can be, while still being compelling reading for genre readers.
Here, we have stories that are so far apart from each other: Viking women and southern bluesmen, from dog-fighting (that was a hard one) to creating artificial intelligence, how could anyone be bored? The humanity that binds us all as storytellers and story readers is still here.
I have started getting back to my love of science fiction tales lately and Single, Singularity is one of the best I’ve ever read, bar none. Seriously now, I was lounging outdoors on a ninety degree day and this tale gave me the shivers something fierce. It was that. Good.
Ithaca was about a man, miraculously surviving war, only to return home to find his wife missing.
Verrata was another sci-fi tale about a smart watch and other fabulous sounding technologies that, of course, turn out to be dangerous.
El Dorado was a nasty little story that had a noir feel to it. It also did not feature even one likable character.
I really dug the last tale, the sequel to SOUTHERN GODS. Having owned that book since I don’t when, and still not having read it, (I’m ashamed), Murder Ballads struck a chord with me. I found myself traveling with another American bluesman, just as I did in A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL, and I loved every minute of it. However, I know I would have perceived a lot more depth had I read SOUTHERN GODS first. I will rectify that soon and then I’ll have myself a reread of this great story.
John Hornor Jacobs is a relatively new discovery to me. I’ve become familiar with his name due to my fellow reviewers, whose opinions I trust. I have several books of his to read and I’m looking forward to them even more now. John Hornor Jacobs is the real deal folks. You need to climb aboard his train and do it right now.
(Originally posted 7.5.20 on my now defunct blog.)
*Thank you to the author for the eARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*