Dead Souls - Put it down and move on to another Necro book

Dead Souls - David G. Barnett

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 4
boobs: 1
bombs: 0
bondage: 4
blasphemy: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

I finished the first two stories in this collection (21% of the book) and moved on. I really like a lot of what Necro has published, so when I saw the blurb explaining this is the guy who runs the publishing house I was excited to see what he's writing. Unfortunately, the writing didn't excite me.

The first story is written from the POV of a psychopathic killer, and is in the vein of the "I'm normal but everyone else is weird" device. This works best when the author draws out sympathy from the reader, so we are left wondering if we're harboring some sort of psychopathology. While I wanted to relate to the protagonist - a nerdy kid who got picked on in school, rather like myself - I just never felt like I related to him enough, nor did I feel engaged in what he was doing. Failing to connect to this kid meant that I never had to question my own delicate sensibilities, and thus the whole story fell flat.

The second story could have been interesting except I saw the ending from a mile away. I think the explanation for the relationships between the parents and their adopted son was explained too early which completely gave away the conclusion in the first few pages of the story. Finishing the story was just an exercise in moving my eyes across the page while the inevitable concluded itself.

Overall, I found the writing felt expository with a very even cadence. I like writing that mixes it up a little (ie, of a much higher caliber than my own writing) and the vocabulary was conversational but not especially evocative. Reading these stories hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for the Necro label, but it has reinforced my opinion that writers can be good authors or good editors, but not both.