You know how a lot of stories fit into a nice, neat category? Books with lots of love and kissy stuff gets thrown into the Romance genre. Books with ghosts go into Supernatural, bloody messes go into Horror. You get the picture. Duncan Ralston took that idea and gave it the big ole “F you, I do what I want” (presumably with a monster gesture including, but not limited to, a middle finger thrust into the air) in his book Gristle and Bone.
Hold on, What?
Okay, so Gristle and Bone is not one big story, but a collection of short stories that range from horrifying, nightmare inducing madness to thought-provoking and tender. You know, faithful readers, that I’m not going to ramble on about some romance novel. The most romance these stories contain are some nice “I love you’s” from the characters. It’s a nice change-up from some the weird stuff I’ve been reading lately. I’m getting off track here…
The first story, Baby Teeth, is probably my favorite. I’ve reviewed it previously within my Salvage post. Basically, a couple who is unable to conceive, is visited by a little creature that bites. I don’t want to give away too many details. You’ll have to discover this gruesome one yourself. Let’s just say, the woman ends up pregnant (you can’t see me, but I’m winking and snickering as I write this, he he).
In Beware of Dog, Dean (because of a recommendation from his shrink) decides to visit his old bully from his childhood in an attempt to apologize for his retaliation beating. He goes to say he is sorry to his old tormentor, only to be met with a gun to the face. The twist is great, however, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I think the last story, Scavengers, really struck a nerve with me. On the surface it is a monster story with a heroic husband and wife duo. Beneath it, a story of prejudice and genocide. I could be wrong, but there seems to be undertones that remind me of mass exterminations. I won’t go into too much detail here, but you’ll see what I mean once you read it. I loved the paranoia and internal debates amongst the characters. You end up wondering what you would do in the situation yourself and even find yourself questioning the sanity of the characters.
How I rate this book: A collection to haunt and delight you
Deep undertones aside, this book has some awesome stories. I love the Easter Egg in Viral (followers of Ralston’s social media will catch it). That was just delightful. Ralston effectively hooks the reader, delving deep into the subconscious, leaving the reader to contemplate the inner demons with their soul. I know I’ve said this about all of Duncan’s stories, but you know I recommend them all, this one included. So get a copy and happy reading!
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=amomandabook-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00L3ETNLE&asins=B00L3ETNLE&linkId=f4bdabb067f89b5cd5892ee629bd85e6&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Dig in here