Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City by Amy Grech

3 of 5 Stars     Review copy

I wanted to like Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City, I actually wanted to love it, but this one just didn't live up to expectations.  I  was surprised since a number of my friends and other reviewers gave this collection rather high marks.

The book begins with the longer title story called, Rage and Redemption In Alphabet City.  Blue Balls - most of us know what they are, but it also happens to be the name of a drink Trevor finds young Ruby consuming in a bar in the East Village.  The story is steeped in sexual tension and climaxes much the way such a tale would be expected to end.  In addition to Blue Ball, the other chapter titles include Marooned, Whodunit, Candy Apple Red, You're So Vain, and Fright Night.

.38 Special - An intense story of a cheating wife and Russian Roulette.

Cold Comfort - More bad decisions being made in an East Village bar.  This time a married man has a fling with a possessive woman and needs to have his wife, an NYC police officer, get him out of a jam.

Prevention - Two brothers who are decidedly different.  A story which sheds light on the age-old issue of nature vs. nurture.

Hoi Polloi Cannoli - My favorite title of the collection.  A tale of...

...the Big Kahuna's Feast, a veritable cornucopia of decadent delights, where any food and drink participants desire can be had for four glorious hours.  Not a minute more, not a minute less, just the right amount of time for the Chosen to taste tantalizing tidbits and relish the experience to the fullest. The Gathering has several firm rules designed to discourage constant chaos.  With that in mind, Big Kahuna decrees the following: The moment the Golden Tickets fall from a secret compartment above the stage and drift downward, swaying this way and that, each and every Villager must stop where they stand and raise their hands. They are only allowed to use their arms and hands to reach for a Golden Ticket, no hitting, punching, scratching, or slapping other Villagers will be tolerated...

In many ways, this story was reminiscent of The Hunger Games as one of the characters states...

"Whether the odds are in her favor."

A sly nod to the popular series.  As much as I liked this story, it was so predictable.  I saw the twist coming from miles away.

While the stories themselves are OK, I didn't find any of them compelling.  On top of that was the large number of error that should have been caught in proofreading.  Any book that's been out for more than a year should not have these types of errors.  I'm not going to list them all, but a few include this like "Daddy bits his lower lip." (bites), "I'd rather not to bring my work home with me." (drop to), and "She blow more smoke rings in Trevor's face." (blew). There were many more, but you get my point.  Writers, remember, spell-check is no substitute for a good proofreader.

I likely would have given the collection four stars if it wasn't for the above.

The author, Amy Grech, is an incredibly nice person, dedicated to her craft, and passionate about the genre.  Part of the blame here must lie with the publisher, New Pulp Press and this line in their submissions policy, "Your work should be fully edited in the sense that you have done all that is necessary and possible to make you work polished, literate and error free."  The least they could contribute would be a proofreader, especially since they said: "...make you work polished..." on their own website.

If an occasional lapse in grammar doesn't bother you, then I recommend this collection.

Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City is published by New Pulp Press and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.

From the author's bio - Amy Grech has sold over 100 stories and poems to various anthologies and magazines.  She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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