Appealing, sometimes-eerie stories, fiction or otherwise.



Dinsmoor (You Can Leave Anytime, 2015, etc.) offers a collection of horrific and fantastic SF tales sprinkled with quirky nonfiction selections. 

The darkly humorous “Selfies” opens this book with a tale of two young besties, one of whom isn’t exactly human and has an alarming plan for the other. Such a bizarre narrative is indicative of much of Dinsmoor’s work herein. Other tales include “The Generation Pyramid,” which follows individuals caught up in a rather unnerving pyramid scheme, and “The World in Gunnar’s Barn,” in which the titular character’s garage is the site of a fascinating, otherworldly “project.” While most stories are unabashedly science fiction, there’s a handful of nonfiction offerings as well, such as the title story. A standout among the nonfiction is “My Mob Super,” an engaging account of an episode in the life of the author, who hails from Indiana, in Manhattan in the 1980s. His New York super was reputedly mob-affiliated Lou, who was particularly scary when Rob’s roommate neglected to pay his half of the rent. A few of the SF stories have predictable twists, and some explore similar territory. “Times Are Different in Port St. Joe” and “Directions to Another World,” for example, both revolve around wormholes. Dinsmoor, however, distinguishes these tales in other ways. “Times” is the spooky one (Bob is consumed with locating a wormhole in Florida and undeterred by the apparent danger) in contrast to the diverting “Directions” (Leo’s newly repaired GPS system helps get him to his destination in mere minutes, regardless of the distance). Despite the book’s generally dark themes, it offers glimpses of happier moments. “Howard at Ravenswood” and “Life After Bambi” are two seemingly bleak stories that ultimately turn, respectively, witty and bittersweet. Dinsmoor’s no-nonsense writing often begets slow-building horror and subtle humor. In “The Pharaoh Cats,” the narrator describes his sister’s growing obsession with felines, which entails the sight of roaming cats and the “pervasive” odor of “cat pee.”

Appealing, sometimes-eerie stories, fiction or otherwise. 

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945917-47-9

Page Count: 149

Publisher: Big Table Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2020

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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