Michael Winter, Periphery. Self-published, 2019. Pp. 369. ISBN 978-1-7333664-0-3. $13.99.
Reviewed by Rachel Verkade
Upon receiving my copy of Periphery, I immediately turned it over to read the blurb on the back cover. There I learned about John Tate, and how “one summer afternoon he returned home covered in blood, ranting about bizarre creatures hiding in plain sight and declaring his intention to move out in order to protect his wife and son from the horrors now stocking him.” (sic) (my emphasis)
Robert Finch, Lake Wildwood. Labuda Books, 2020. Pp. 101. ISBN 2-402-68110-7. $12.00.
Reviewed by Djibril Ayad
This slim novel, published posthumously from the notes of long-retired and recently deceased author Robert Finch, is billed as “a natural mystery,” and indeed bears many of the hallmarks of a crime or noir story (although as I’ll argue, I don’t think it succeeds as either). With a cast of characters straight out of Thoreau, a narrative that can’t decide if it’s bleak realist or supernatural horror, and choppy prose that veers wildly from rich, velvet poetry, via overwritten identity crisis, to Tolkeinesque naivety, this book ultimately disappoints, and does no service to Finch’s reputation.
Elly Blue (ed.), Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, and Dragons. Microcosm Publishing, 2020. Pp. 160. ISBN 978-1-62106-047-5. $11.95.
Reviewed by Cait Coker
Elly Blue’s Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, and Dragons is part of a new crop of anthologies crowdfunded through online platforms such as Kickstarter, enabling small presses to more easily print diverse new content and pay their contributors. It is also the sixth annual volume of genre stories edited by Blue focused on bicycling and feminism. This is a slight book of fifteen short stories, all sharing the same prompt of bicycles and dragons. Each author, however, takes it on in their own direction, with some stories playful, some dramatic, and some in-between.