This is an unashamed advert for The Boy Who Love Death: a book I know I’m going to adore, and I’m pretty sure that anyone else who enjoys scalpel-sharp stories written with unbelievably lyrical precision will too.
I loved Hal Duncan’s last collection, Scruffians!, because it assembled most of the tales in his wonderful Scruffians cycle in one place, but this volume from Bizarro Pulp Press collects together a range of stories from across Hal’s career. And therefore contains some of my favourite stories, by anyone, of all time.
From The Last Shift, a heartbreaking story of industrial decline which we were delighted to publish in Nova Scotia, to the utterly luminous, The Chiaroscurist, from the satire of Die, Vampire, Die! to the unending tragedy of The Toy Maker’s Grief, every one of these is a gem. There’s even my favourite Scruffians story (A Scruffian’s Christmas), and a new Scruffians tale, The Liberating of the Devil Boy. And last but not least, it has the title story: simply the the most effective meditation on the sense of entitlement to take another person’s life I’ve ever read. It’s a sliver of a thing but it packs an emotional punch that will never leave you.