What a great collection, and what an auspicious first issue for a new anthology. J.D. Graves has done a first-rate job as the editor here, and he has a piece in the line-up as well.
I love a good anthology – such a great opportunity to read a variety of other authors’ work. Econoclash Review touts itself as “Quality Cheap Thrills”, and it sure lives up to its blurb. There’s plenty of quality here, and cheap thrills are always good.
Starting with the cover art, which I love – this is pure pulp material paying tribute to the heyday – Eric Hibbeler take a bow, you’ve got serious pulp art talent my friend! Who can go past a busty blonde in a ripped red dress, with a monster bearing down on her? Classic.
So, into the stories, and one of the interesting features of this new magazine is Mr Graves fusing together various genres and sub-genres into a collection which hangs together from the reader’s perspective. Now, hard-boiled crime and noir are my domains – both reading and writing – but I do like to venture out; escape from the reserve every now and then, so this collection really worked for me.
I was already familiar with the four crime and noir authors here (Soldan, Graves, Manzolillo, & Rutherford), and they all lived up to my previous high view of their work.
William R. Soldan delivers gritty, drug-fuelled social depravity in his “Recompense” – to get much darker you’d need to extinguish the sun – this was atmospheric social noir at its best.
J.D. Graves, aside from establishing his credentials at putting together an anthology (I admire any of my fellow authors who can achieve this), likewise gets out his paintbrush with only one colour – black, my friends! In just 14 pages of “The Little Death of Jacob Green”, we meet the most twisted, emotionally screwed up characters imaginable, in a small town whose main industries seem to be extramarital sex and murder. Loved it!
In “Quick Pick”, Nick Manzolillo weaves a macabre tale of the sheer power of greed and the lengths it’ll drive people to, even those who seem to have some human decency. Beware appearances! And the final twist in this story will leave you smiling.
The last of the noir, but this time with a distinct sci-fi slant, is from Scotch Rutherford in “Neon Anemone”. This is a great short story with action blasting off each page – fast cars, guns, gambling, top-secret government facilities where unspeakably unethical things occur (Mmm … rather close to the truth, perhaps), and even our hero enjoying a 2005 bottle of Burgundy – a lovely touch to the story, and a man after my own heart. Some great characterization and human emotions drive the action.
The other seven stories are a variety of escapades into what I would loosely call fantasy and horror – still pretty noir in a couple of cases, and even some dark humour in there as well. All of them were good fun reads: “The Last Book” by Rick McQuiston; “The Boss Man Cometh” by Christopher Hivner; “Blessed He Be, Shinokaze” by Joachim Heijndermans; “Meet The Family” by Charlotte Platt (my favourite of these seven, and definitely not a family to meet!); “Exit Ramp” by Lyndon Perry; “Green Eyed Monster” by Gerri R. Gray (another lovely twisted tale with some very twisted sex); and “Beneath Me” by Edward Turner III (which had my skin crawling!).
Mr Graves, this is a sensational first issue, and I am certainly looking forward to Issue # 2. Might have to get writing for that one myself, although the standard is clearly set at a high bar - I'll need to pull my finger out!
My friends, you love your quality cheap thrills? Then get yourselves a copy of Econoclash Review!
Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/EconoClash-Review-Quality-Cheap-Thrills/dp/1981881387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520657840&sr=8-1&keywords=econoclash+review
Bringing you hard-boiled and noir tales of crime and corruption. And various related opinions!