Friday, September 11, 2009
Book Review: Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill
Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill
144 pages Apex publishing
I have walked through the Tenderloin in San Francisco a couple times. Now I wish I had paid more attention to this small and interesting neighborhood. I also wish I had paid attention to Gene O'Neill the author of this thin and instense collection of themed horror fiction.
The stories themselves are varied and diverse but the thread that holds tightly together is the setting of the Tenderloin neighborhood. The tenderloin business association probably wont endorse this book I sure as hell will. O'Neill is a a talented writer who drilled almost every single one of these stories straight out of the park.
Apex publishing also has a hit here with it's second excellent collection in one year(Mamma's boy by Fran Friel). The strongest story of this collection is a story the “Magic Words,” which I feel captures the tone of a twilight zone episode better than any new short story I've read in sometime. The opening story is also quite strong as well and touches on a recurring theme the tenderloin's veterans of war. Vietnam, Desert Storm and Afghanistan. The Bram Stoker award nominated story balance is the strongest of the Vet stories and is an important piece of socio-political horror.