Friday, August 27, 2010
Skull Full of Kisses Book Review
Author: Michael West
Publisher: Graveside Tales
Lately I've been finding myself reading more and more short stories, and enjoying them more than the typical novel. There's been a few collections that have stunned me in the past, but every collection pails in comparison to Michael West's Skull Full of Kisses. There's only two words that come to mind when I think about this marvelous collection, and those are: disturbingly brilliant!
Every story contained in this small, but remarkable collection not only makes a person think, but plants that thoughtful seed in the readers mind. And with each passing story that's read, that seed begins to grow, until finally you've reached the end, and left with a stunningly beautiful and haunting apparition that will follow you long after you've read the last word.
Although the collection is short, it's solid, compact, and written with a passion that's hard to find. Every story reads like polished gold. "Jiki" -- the opening story -- deals with Koji Ogawa, the newest member of the Yakuza who comes face-to-face with something more sinister than the mobster could ever dream of. Then there's "Einstein's Slingshot," which reminded me of a love child between Jurassic Park, The Mist, and The Outer Limits. There's also "To Know How to See," a sci-fi/horror hybrid that will leave you questioning the true identity of everyone around you; and then there's one of my personal favorites: "Sanctuary," which deals with travelers seeking for refuge from a Himalayan snow storm, but find something more when they hole up with a group of monks. And finally, to round out the collection, is "Goodnight," a heart-string plucking tale of a grandfather recounting a real-life bedtime story to his grandson.
I've read this collection five times in the last three months, and each time I've finished the book I've found myself stunned at what an amazing collection Skull Full of Kisses really is.West knows and loves his genre, and shows and shares it, with a remarkable ability to craft tales, and flesh out characters that feel alive. That's why I'm giving Skull Full of Kisses an 8.5 out of 10.
If you're looking for something that will seriously mess with your head long after you've put it down, I would highly suggest picking up a copy of Michael West's Skull Full of Kisses.