MILK-BLOOD - A contender for "Best of Read in 2015"

Milk-Blood - Mark  Matthews, Richard Thomas, Elderlemon Design

Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 5
boobs: 2
bombs: 3 (the economic violence of poverty)
bondage: 3
blasphemy: 4
Stars: 5
Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: PASS
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.

What a fantastic find this is! Written against the backdrop of inner city poverty, this is a short story about deeply imperfect people trying to cope with extraordinarily crappy circumstances. Drugs are a major part of this story, as is the supernatural. I found myself reminded of The House by Edward Lee - a miasma from years of psychic pain builds up and takes on a life of it's own, which is the sort of Jungian inspired supernatural shenanigans I like the best.

Speaking as someone with six years of sobriety after a lifetime of chemical addiction, I found the portrayal of addiction in this story to be among the best I've ever read. According to the bios on the usual sites the author's day job is drug counseling. This experience shows through. The horror and depravity of addiction feels gut-wrenchingly visceral. I found parts of this short story difficult to read - they're that powerful. And I'm the guy that can read Edward Lee while eating dinner.

To be frank, I didn't have very high expectations for the book; Wicked Run Press is Mr. Mathew's own label. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing - he uses an economy of words that flows very well, the characters were all developed well and voicing was especially well done. I do not recall any typos or grammatical errors. This is a well produced book gloriously free of the problems that beset too many self-published books.

I've since purchased several other books from Mark Mathews. They are not going to sit on my TBR list for years; knowing that I have some more stories that could be this good is like having a stash of the good stuff tucked away for later.