I’m very happy to be part of another Blackthorn Book Tours blog book tour, this time for Andy Rausch’s second short story collection, Crazy Ass Stories for Crazy Ass People.
About the book
This quirky collection of short stories (and one novella) by Andy Rausch contains something for readers of every stripe. Rausch touches on a variety of genres, including horror, comedy, crime, and even Western, but every story features his unique, offbeat wit, superb writing, and razor-sharp dialogue, all delivered from a decidedly off-kilter perspective.
His work has been praised by the likes of Cape Fear screenwriter Wesley Strick and Fort Apache the Bronx author Heywood Gould. Author Peter Leonard once compared his writing style to that of his father, Elmore Leonard.
Storylines include a naive little boy mistaking a burglar for Santa Claus, bumbling white supremacists attempting to resurrect the dead body of Adolf Hitler, a man who develops an unexplainable craving for the taste of human flesh, a would-be author summoning the spirit of dead novelist Charles Bukowski to assist him writing, a showdown between legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and a deadly serial killer on the dusty streets of Tombstone, and many more.
So ask yourself: are you a little bit crazy, and if so, are you up to the task of reading these twenty-two wild and crazy tales of darkness, wackiness, and outright debauchery?
An appropriately named collection of 21 short stories, and one novella, that swing through a spectrum of genres within each short tale.
The collection starts with The Dinner Guests, a depiction of what happens when a person is overcome by a hankering for a certain food.
She Had a Good Heart follows a heart transplant patient’s journey to meet her donor’s family.
Charles Bukowski’s Command Performance shows the lengths a writer will go to in order to write a bestselling novel.
Rachel in the Moonlight is the story of a widower’s mission to have one more night with his dead wife.
Sandwich Bitch shows how nasty it can get over food in a workplace fridge.
Potential Spacemen is the tale of strange lights in a farmer’s field.
Kind of Blue is the story of a Jazz trumpet player who just won’t quit.
Steve McQueen and the Thanksgiving Elvis Decanter warns us once again to be careful what you wish for.
The Man Who Hated Pickles is a cautionary tale about the consequences of getting a food order wrong.
It’s Not Enough is a retelling of The Grimm Brother’s story, The Dog and the Sparrow.
Granny Wilkins’ Last Supper, rather predictably, concerns a last meal.
The Sweetest Ass in the Ozarks concerns the meeting of two truly depraved people.
The Man Who Wouldn’t Die is exactly as the title describes.
The Gypsy’s Curse shows a biker gang getting their comeuppance.
The Day Fat Terry Brought Dead Hitler to Iowa reads like wish fulfillment against a group of Neo Nazis.
The Truth About Josh describes a difficult friendship that most can relate to.
Santa’s Little Helper is a depressing (although apparently lots of people find it amusing) incidence of mistaken identity.
Early Retirement is basically Breaking Down in a school.
Snow White and the Seven Bastards is a Quentin Tarantinoesque view of Snow White and Prince Charming’s relationship going sour.
It’ll Make You Feel Better concerns emails to a dead brother.
Wyatt Earp and the Devil Incarnate is the novella, which is about the legendary lawman when a serial killer comes to Tombstone.
The Night Ol’Bastard Came to Hoboken is about The Wu-Tang Clan saving a man’s life.
If there is a unifying theme to this collection, it seems to be the assortment of (mostly) unpleasant people who commit sordid acts, not through wickedness, but because of boredom or dumbness. Indeed, the message, if there is one, is that life is a dark and dirty place which we are all stumbling stupidly through.
The author’s screenwriting and acting background are obvious in the beauty of his dialogue. You know it’s good when you hear the voices. By that I mean, of course, that you can hear the character’s speech, accent and all, in your head as you read. As a writer, it’s an enviable skill to have, and I will be studying these stories in detail to glean details on how to improve my own craft.
If I were to criticize the stories, it would be that the plots were a little too obvious for me, especially as several gave it all away in the title. However, from reading the story notes at the back of the book (an addition that I love, as with Collision) I gather that not every reader picked up on clues as quickly as I did.
As with all short story collections, some stories appeal to the reader more than others. My favorite was It’s Not Enough, which I think surpassed the Grimm Brothers original. Honorable mentions go to The Man Who Hated Pickles, which perfectly encapsulated for me the horror of someone disrespecting my dietary choices, and Sandwich Bitch, which is so much fun.
I award Crazy Ass Stories…
Crazy Ass Stories for Crazy Ass People is available for $2.79 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Andy Rausch is an American film journalist, author, screenwriter, film producer, and actor.
He is the author of several novels and novellas including Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin. He also wrote the screenplay for Dahmer versus Gacy and is the author of some twenty non-fiction books on popular culture.
Books: Riding Shotgun, Bloody Sheets, A Time for Violence, Layla’s Score.
You can usually find Andy on Twitter @writerrausch1, and he maintains a blog at https://authorandyrausch.wordpress.com/