Thursday, August 16, 2012

Reading Rainbow: Box of Lies by Mark LaFlamme

There are a plethora of authors that can hide behind closed doors or in the cracks of creaky wooden floors, waiting to jump out with a dime-a-dozen scare, and then there are mold-breaking writers that puncture the mind with seeds of imagination that continue to grow over time. Mark LaFlamme is indisputably the latter. His work is easily devoured (the much sought after "quick read"), but sticks to the ribs like a rare T-bone with taters and gravy, just don't think about where that knife has been.

After rave reviews from friends, I was obligated to imbibe this work despite hesitation in fear of what I thought might be a cheaply constructed, pulpy horror-fiction mess, but contained within were twenty-seven short stories that piqued my interests in different ways: Where has that steak knife been? Do aliens watch baseball games? Is there a mass conspiracy training program in the military? How long can one survive the apocalypse on Vienna sausages and cheap beer?

I got more than I bargained for to say the least. Sure, this book has plentiful amounts of horror for the adrenaline junkies, but what I was shocked to find is the soul hiding behind the layers of madness. I wouldn't discount LaFlamme's penchant for throwing in a good laugh either. When is the last time an author crafted a narrative that could bind a gut one page, question human existence the next, and conclude with a rewarding polish, snickering along the way? I haven't been this invigorated by an author since snacking on Stephen King's novels as a teenager. Each story is individually florid enough to fill a novel, so don't be driven away by the short story aspect. Just think of it as twenty-seven books for the price of one!

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