Odd Places by Guy Anthony De Marco
“Odd Places” is a book of short stories — sometimes very, very short stories — by Guy Anthony De Marco. Most of the collection is either horror or morbid humor (is that a genre? Doesn’t matter, I’ll call it a genre anyway). There are a couple of mysteries, a couple slice-of-life tales, some fantasy, some science fiction, a little poetry.
There are a buuuuunch of stories in here, but some of what you’ll see are…
- “Angelic” – an impossibly beautiful woman chooses the local sad sack, which leads to love and other complications
- “The Box” – a fortune-telling crate foretells future fame for a special baby
- “Bridges” – a war story where an American soldier learns the value of mercy
- “Crazy Taxi” – in which cabbies are judgmental but funny gods
- “Dead Meat” – in which a rancher needs to get a very special herd of cattle processed
- “Death Grip” – in which a man learns he can see death coming — and learns how to stop it
- “I Hate Sunday School” – which features a really rotten Sunday School teacher and divine intervention
- “I Wish Momma Sang the Blues” – in which a series of barnyard misunderstandings lead to some legal trouble
- “The Prize” – which stars a robot and an uncle with a questionable sense of humor
- “The Satan Clause” – Hey, why does Santa wear red?
And plenty more besides.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of really fun stories in this one. My faves probably included “The Box,” which has a wonderfully Twilight-Zoney twist, “Dead Meat,” which is excellently squicky, “All in the Family,” which is squick-inducing for an entirely different reason, “Death Grip,” “Lyssa Makes a Friend,” and the two mystery stories, which were short, but satisfying.
And speaking of short, that’s what you’re going to get a lot of in this book. Some of the stories here are just a page long, some just two or three. Even the longer stories are nice, quick reads. The entire book is stuffed full of stories, but because so many of them are so short, you’ll zip through it very, very quickly. Makes it an excellent book if you only have time to read a few pages at a time.
But don’t mistake short stories for throwaway stories — there are deeply affecting tales here, and a bunch of them are likely to stick with you for a while — even the micro-fiction, some of which fits a vast amount of dynamite in just three or four paragraphs.
You’ve got great plots, great twists, some scares, some laughs, and a heck of a lot of wonderfully created characters. I think it’s worth your time.