Cut Corners Vol. 2 (Sinister Grin Press)
The second volume of Sinister Grin Press’ CUT CORNERS brings readers three fresh short works from the talents of Ray Garton, Monica J. O’Rourke, and Shane McKenzie. While none of the three is particularly novella-length, each is a fairly lengthy short story, providing readers an enjoyable serving-size of splatterpunk.
CUT CORNERS VOL. 2 opens with Ray Garton’s “A Flat and Dreary Monday Night,” a terror-filled tale of a bizarre home invasion that takes the calm beginning of the piece’s ironic title and turns it up a notch by the second page, getting more and more intense with each word. While some elements of Garton’s story do fall a bit short (e.g. the predictable ending, our protagonist’s choice of weapon that gets thrown in), the story’s strength really comes through the tense action sequence which, wonderfully, is more or less the entirety of the story.
Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Exposed” is the second piece, creating the filling for the bloodied horror-short sandwich that is CUT CORNERS VOL. 2, and is my personal favorite piece of the trio. The story of Mary, a woman out for heroics, revenge, or perhaps something else entirely, she captures a known pedophile and brutally tortures him in her search for her daughter. Well-paced with solid imagery and a monster of a torture scene, O’Rourke’s first-person narrative paints a picture of a frantic hero with a crumbling psyche.
Capping off the collection is Shane McKenzie’s “Bleeding Rainbows,” the dark story of a supernaturally endowed serial killer that is “just doing his job.” While throughout the story, McKenzie’s explanations of the killer’s powers and purpose come off as a bit fumbling at times; the story’s nameless protagonist really does wind up well characterized as his story weaves between that of a lonely child and ruthless killer. From the story’s dark opening scene to the startling climax, McKenzie’s killer protagonist grows to a complexity that shows his taste for blood has much more hiding under the surface.
CUT CORNERS VOL. 2 is a bloody collection of fucked-up people doing fucked-up things from three of contemporary horror’s wildest authors. (Nathan Crazybear)