Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Review: Things You Need - by Kevin Lucia

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Kevin Lucia has a place he calls home in much of his work.  Like Stephen King has Castle Rock and Gary A. Braunbeck has Cedar Hill, Lucia has Clifton Heights, a small town in the Adirondacks where strange is more or less the norm.

That's not where the similarities to King end.  If you're at all familiar with Stephen's work you can't help but notice a similarity of titles between Needful Things and Things You Need.

Things You Need, at its core, is a collection of stories set in and around Clifton Heights.  Those tales are all wrapped in a larger story of a traveling salesman who comes to Clifton Heights.  Stuck in a job he's good at, but is anything but satisfying, Lucia's protagonist is considering the ultimate retirement...

"...the day I stepped into Handy's Pawn & Thrift, I'd say I was two steps away from giving my .38 that long, last kiss goodbye."

Now on to the stories within the story.

The Way of Ah-Tzenul - A perverted tale of a farmer who after a weak harvest the previous year discovers a most unusual way to tend to his fields.  I loved this story, but then I'm pretty much a sick bastard.

The Office - A cleverly constructed tale I won't dare give away.  Let's just say it made effective use of the magic eight ball which now finds itself residing at Handy's Pawn & Thrift.  It's also one of the finest shorts I've read this year and had a genuine Bradbury feel to it.

Out of Field Theory - Another gem of a story about a photography student working on a project for his final and gets caught up in shadows and what is happening "out of frame."

Scavenging - An engaging story of a man who has destroyed his future and is now trying to recapture his past.  One of the best reveals, ever.

A Place for Broken and Discarded Things - Many of the tales in this collection have that Twilight Zone vibe.  None more so than this story of a second-hand mega-store luring its victims like a venus fly-trap.

The Black Pyramid - A six-by-six-by-six black ceramic pyramid covered with odd etchings. Six-by-six-by-six.  Uh, oh.

When We All Meet at the Ofenda - It seems every Autumn I encounter numerous stories about the Mexican tradition, Día de Los Muertos.  This is my favorite so far this year.

Almost Home - A mother leaves a bad situation, taking her son and a .38. A story witch deftly ties the last tale into the larger story.

Kevin Lucia has a very comfortable style to his writing.  I won't soon forget my most recent visit to Clifton Heights and look forward to returning again soon.


Things You Need is available for pre-order from Crystal Lake Publishing.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

Here is the rest of the schedule for Kevin's Blog Tour in support of Things You Need.

Anton Cancre - September 19th - Hiram Grange's Vaguely Inappropriate Interview With Gavin Patchett
Dan Keohane - September 21st
Amber Fallon - September 22nd - My Lament
Rebecca Snow - September 24th - Interview
Joe Falank - September 26th - Interview/The Man Who Sits in His Chair
Kevin Lucia at Cemetery Dance Online - September 28th - Special Edition of "Revelations" on Cemetery Dance Online, about how the Greystone Bay Series, edited by Charles L. Grant, influenced Clifton Heights
John Questore – September 29th – The Crayfish God
Erin Al-Mehairi – September 30th – Rest in Peace, Blackfoot Valley
Wesley Southard - October 1st – The Sidewalk Scavenger
Ryan G. Clark - October 3rd - Review
Yvone Davies/The Terror Tree – October 5th – The White Cat of Samara Hill
Mark Allen Gunnells – October 7th – The Cairn

Follow Kevin Lucia on Facebook for daily links.

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