Tales of hardboiled horror and Twilight Zone noir. Cross-genre blowtorches with bad guys and worse guys. Love stories both dark and bittersweet. A brand new novella and extensive story notes. You’ll find this and more in the fifth collection from three-time Bram Stoker award-winner Norman Partridge, an author Locus calls “one of the most dependable, exciting, and entertainTales of hardboiled horror and Twilight Zone noir. Cross-genre blowtorches with bad guys and worse guys. Love stories both dark and bittersweet. A brand new novella and extensive story notes. You’ll find this and more in the fifth collection from three-time Bram Stoker award-winner Norman Partridge, an author Locus calls “one of the most dependable, exciting, and entertaining practitioners of dark suspense and dark fantasy… emphasis on the dark.”In Lesser Demons, Partridge explores the kind of fiction that made him both a horror fan and a writer. Using the shotgun prose of a crime novel, the title story draws a deadly bead on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. “The Iron Dead” introduces Chaney, a monster-hunting pulp hero with a mechanical hand built in hell. “Carrion” cuts a mean swath through Robert E. Howard territory, while “The Big Man” explores dark shadows of American life never imagined in the atom-age horror movies of the fifties.Part celebration, part reinvention, Lesser Demons only serves to underscore RevolutionSF’s verdict: “Norman Partridge is the finest writer of short horror fiction going.” Table of Contents Second Chance The Big Man Lesser Demons Carrion The Fourth Stair up from the Second Landing And What Did You See in the World? Road Dogs The House Inside Durston The Iron Dead A Few Words AfterDust jacket by Vincent Chong...
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Lesser Demons Reviews
DEAR FELLOW GOODREADERS: Behold a master of storycraft and his collection of imaginative, gorrifically tasty tales that manage to be pulpy, thought-provoking and highly literate...all at the same time. A unique collection unlike anything else I have read. 5.0 stars. Umkay, so I really, REALLY, REEEEAALLLLY liked this one. This is one of those short story collections that just drip awesome from the bottom of the paper and cause misty spores of wonder to waft up into your face as you turn each page, forcing you to brush the droplets of literary gold condensation forming on your skin. Yeah, that sounds about right. So this is the first work by Mr. Partridge that I have experienced and am so impressed with his chops that I am adding him to the list of authors whose future books I will buy sight unseen. His voice, style and imagination were so unique and compelling that I find myself very excited to see what he comes up with next. The style is sort of a mash of mid-western pulp style horror/fantasy with plenty of gore, grit and not so nice main characters, but with very well-written, layered and nuanced prose adding subtle details to the narrative that raise this above the level of the typical genre short story. As I mentioned above, they are like nothing I’ve come across before and I am not sure how to categorize them…I’ll just call them ART. The first story, Second Chance is a good example of the subtle, thought-provoking ending that Partridge does so well. It is a tale about a wounded thief being chased by "someone" who he doesn't anticipate. The story is an excellent introduction to Partridge’s work and after finishing the story I was tempted to go back a read it again to fully absorb the nuances of the story. Next up is The Big Man which is a SUPERB homage to the 50's pulp horror classic (complete with giant spiders, giant scorpions and an actual giant man). The mash of the iconic scenery of pulp with the lush, almost poetic prose of the author makes this something special. I really liked the end of this one and while treading in very “pulpy” waters, Partridge’s story is anything but simple. Fun, yes!! Simple, anything but!! The title story, Lesser Demons, is next. It concerns a no nonsense (and morally suspect) sheriff fighting demons and zombies in small town, USA. Partridge absolutely sets the zombie story on its head while still maintaining a firm attachment to the dead head subgenre. Another terrifically fun read that is elevated above the norm by smart writing and a very nuanced plot. Fourth is Carrion which combines a simple, violent tale of two gunmen and a lady in a small Mexican border town who meet up at a desert shack that puts them in the crosshairs of a seriously nasty “other place.” This one was a bit of a “miss” for me, but it may have been that I need to go back and re-read this as the nuance may have been too much for me. The next two stories, The Fourth Stair Up from the Second Landing followed by And What Did You See in the World are a couple of brilliant, creepy, psychological pieces about some seriously FUCKOED people. After those two tasties, we have Road Dogs which may be the best werewolf story ever. A standout in a collection of highlights, this is just amazo. The House Inside was good but was another partial miss for me. It is a strange, atmospheric piece about a group of living toys left alone after humanity dies out as a result of an apocalyptic event. You may like this more than me as it was certainly original and well written. Just didn’t love it. Second to last is Durston which really displays Partridge’s control over his craft. The main character, Durston is a violent, gunman who has done some vile things yet Partridge makes you sympathize with him when he is confronted by someone oh so much worse. I really liked this, but don’t go in looking for a warm fuzzy. Up last is my FAVORITE story in this whole collection of highlights (it is also the longest). The Iron Dead stars a superb, and hopefully (“pretty please”) soon to be recurring, main character named Chaney who comes across as your classic no-nonsense, mysterious pulp-style hero. Chaney sports an iron hand forged in hell and is chasing an equally interesting demonic villain who is creating an army of “Holy Shit what is that” out of a combination or human and metal spare parts. This one is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ and I have my fingers crossed that this story is used as the basis for a whole series of novels about Chaney and his mysterious adversary!!! Overall, this is an original, well-written and very, very memorable set of stories by a very talented artist. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!
Norman Partridge has all the energy of the pulps and drive-in movies that inspired him, along with a tight handle on themes and characterization. But what mostly strikes me is how in love with everything he seems. There's enthusiasm dripping off every page, every sentence, every word.I didn't like Lesser Demons quite as much as the first Partridge collection I read--The Man With the Barbed Wire Fists--but it's still got that same energy. In his afterword, Partridge says that he's the kind of writer who doesn't like writing but likes having written. From reading Lesser Demons (or any of his other work), though, I'll say that you certainly can't see it. Reading Norman Partridge feels like reading somebody who is completely in love with what he's doing, and it always reminds me of why I fell in love with writing--and with this genre (whatever it might happen to be)--in the first place, and I hope that when people read my stuff they find at least a little bit of that same enthusiasm bleeding through.
Wow.Norman Partridge’s collection of horror short stories Lesser Demons (2010, Subterranean Press) is superb.I’d picked it up a while back, having seen a recommendation from Laird Barron. Now, Barron is one of my all-time favorite authors. His collections of short fiction and his novel are all amazing - so I went in with pretty high hopes, given that kind of recommendation.Hope were met, and exceeded.Every story in it was enjoyable, most were fabulous, and a couple were sublime. He does some great genre remixing - going noir in some stories, going full on Lovecraft in others, then getting a bit Twilight Zone with still others. The writing is tight and controlled, extremely well crafted. Deft characterization, well wrought dialogue, and a sure hand at unfolding a story gave the collection a throughline that held up from the first story “Second Chance” to the last, “The Iron Dead”.Here’s a great example of Patridge’s strength with dialogue, from “Durston”:“Take this back,” Durston said.“That’s what you want to see me about?”“Yes.”“Then you just raised a bushel of hell for nothing.”“Listen here -““No, Mr. Durston. You’re the one who needs to listen. You were paid for services rendered. You betrayed your partner. I strung up Pitch Dunnigan and watched him kick. That’s the story, entire.”For me, the real stand-outs are among the best horror stories that I’ve ever read. “Lesser Demons”, “The Iron Dead”, and especially “The House Inside” will stick with me for a long, long time. Amazing stuff, indeed. If you enjoy great contemporary horror, check out Lesser Demons. I think it’s out of print - which is utterly unforgivable, when I think about it - but it’s not hard to get a used copy.
This is my first such read in my search for a really dark and disturbing book. While this is not it I enjoyed reading this collection. My favorite stories are: Lesser Demons (Because who doesn't like a good demon story), Road Dogs , The House Inside ( a brilliant end-of-the worlds story) and The Iron Dead. I didn't care much for 'The Fourth Stair up from the Second Landing' and 'And What Did You See in the World?' though they are still good.
Some interesting, odd POV stories - if you like odd horror, you'll like this.
This is a fantastic horror collection from a great writer of the genre. Highly recommended for any fan of horror or just plain old good writing.
This was a great book! Entertaining--new concepts--fresh. I especially liked the robo-vamps. I hope Norm writes more of this kind of story.