Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scary Books – The Man with Barbed Wire Fists by Norman Partridge

I’m not certain that Norman Partridge is human. I’ve never met the guy but I don’t see how anyone human can possess such acute insight into the literary world of terror. It just doesn’t strike me as reasonable that he’s human. He must be…something else. The stories collected in The Man with Barbed Wire Fists are among the finest horror stories you’ll ever read. I wish I had written them all, and so will you once you read them. There are twenty-four stories in this collection, some culled from Cemetery Dance magazine which, frankly, was a lousy magazine with lousy stories except when they published stuff by Norman Partridge. The other magazines where these stories first appeared are unknown to me. My favorites here are “Blood Money,” “Blackbirds,” “Spyder” (James Dean returns, but it’s not what you’ll expect), “Tombstone Moon,” “The Mohave Two-Step,” and “The Bars on Satan’s Jailhouse.” But every story here is a treat, a sugary Halloween treat dipped in blood. So put this one on the shelf with Tim Curran’s books and open it up on a dark and stormy night. Except since this is Norman Partridge you have to do more than lock the doors; you better keep a 12 gauge shotgun handy with plenty of shells nearby. The beasts are at the door!

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