Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Review: Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars By Cody GoodFellow

Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars by Cody Goodfellow
195 pages
Swallowdown press (

I gotta be careful here. More than once Cody has been victim to the hype machine that his dedicated readers get on. Few writers in our generation of horror practitioners have received the kinda of admiration that mister Goodfellow has. It is hard to describe Goodfellow's writing without sounding over the top or hyperbolic. The man is a diabolical genius, all fiction offers us a chance to look into the world of the authors imagination, and if you want to visit a strange, scary, and messed up place look no further. I am convinced now that I don't really want to know what Cody was up to before he settled down to raise children and horror novels.

Up front I should say that when I lived in San Diego I was a part of tight knit short lived community of horror fiction writers who hung out and read for each other. So the genius of Cody Goodfellow's short fiction was well know to me before this – his first collection came out. I also made a point to track anthologies and collections with his work in it. Before Silent Wars appeared in a sack at my door step I had only read two of the stories. Contained are 15 short stories and an introduction by Cody's writing partner splatterpunk legend John Skipp. An afterword by Swallowdown master of ceremonies Bram Stoker award nominated Jeremy Robert Johnson.

This collection is grounded in southern California the same way Stephen King collections are grounded in Maine. The sunshine doesn't dull the horrific settings and gives each story a warm brown dusty feeling. At least four times I read stories that I thought, oh yeah this is the best of collection. As the stories tick away the quality never wavers. I might have to agree with Skipp's introduction that the magna mater is the best classical horror story here. It was perfectly written Twilight zone style classic that just happens to be about a coin operated video porn booth. El Santero is great story set on the nastiest border crossing in the world, Drop of Ruby is a re-ainimator style mad scientist tale, and In his wake is a great tale of goth stardom gone bad and is among my favorites. Not to mention a cleaver about the author at the end.

This is more than Lovecraft on acid, this is Lovecraft after a smack bender in Tijuana, one where he wakes up handcuffed to bed and covered in someone else's blood. Goodfellow's fiction has the otherworld -ness of Lovecraft, the sarcasm of Joe R. Lansdale, the mojo of a motley Crue tell-all and best of all it's wrapped together with prose that would satisfy fans of high literature in horror.

Is this an over the top review? I don't think so, I think if you take my advice and buy this collection, read it cover to cover you'll join the cult of Cody.

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