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THE MANY DEATHS OF COLE PARKER

AND OTHER STORIES

Acute horror tales that are as enthralling as they are outright scary.

Awards & Accolades

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Characters suffer the torment of loneliness, heartache, and otherworldly beings in this collection of grim short stories.

In the title tale, Cole Parker dies at the hands of a mysterious, tall, gray man. Yet Cole somehow returns to consciousness in an entirely new life that’s both strange and familiar. His wife, Angeline, and her abusive ex-husband, Frank Bannon, are there as well, but though their faces and names haven’t changed, everything else is different. Chillingly, the black-eyed gray man makes his way into this life to kill Cole once again. This begins a seemingly endless cycle of lives for Cole, from an escaped prisoner to a vile, corrupt senator, joined by versions of Angeline and Frank. If Cole can learn who the gray man is, perhaps he can stop him from repeatedly murdering him and return to his original existence with Angeline. Grant’s book also includes five additional stories that are shorter but equally dark. In “The Dead Years,” a man meets Margot Walker, who’s the mirror image of his lost love, Emma Grace. He wants to believe that Margot truly is Emma, but the truth is far more disconcerting. The author, whose work includes TV series, short films, and a comic-book adaptation, has a crisp prose that condenses hefty narratives into short forms. “A Thousand Rooms of Darkness,” for example, concerns Anne Hunnicut and her intense phobia of Halloween; her meticulous backstory gives this fear credibility and enhances the suspenseful tale’s latter half. As with all good horror stories, relatable issues affect the characters here, such as despondency and suicidal urges. But Grant also succeeds at dread-inducing setups. Jack Bennett, in “Static,” is the bodyguard for Laura Cooper, but even he’s shaken by the unexplained staticky calls to a safe house’s private number.

Acute horror tales that are as enthralling as they are outright scary. (acknowledgements, author bio)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947041-72-1

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Running Wild Press

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

The ne’er-do-well son of a successful Irish American family gets dragged into criminal complications that suggest the rest of the Devlins aren’t exactly the upstanding citizens they appear.

The first 35 years in the life of Thomas “TJ” Devlin have been one disappointment after another to his parents, lawyers who founded a prosperous insurance and reinsurance firm, and his more successful siblings, John and Gabby. A longtime alcoholic who’s been unemployable ever since he did time for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend Carrie’s then 2-year-old daughter, TJ is nominally an investigator for Devlin & Devlin, but everyone knows the post is a sinecure. Things change dramatically when golden-boy John tells TJ that he just killed Neil Lemaire, an accountant for D&D client Runstan Electronics. Their speedy return to the murder scene reveals no corpse, so the brothers breathe easier—until Lemaire turns up shot to death in his car. John’s way of avoiding anything that might jeopardize his status as heir apparent to D&D is to throw TJ under the bus, blaming him for everything John himself has done and adding that you can’t trust anything his brother has said since he’s fallen off the wagon. TJ, who’s maintained his sobriety a day at a time for nearly two years, feels outraged, but neither the police investigating the murder nor his nearest and dearest care about his feelings. Forget the forgettable mystery, whose solution will leave you shrugging instead of gasping, and focus on the circular firing squad of the Devlins, and you’ll have a much better time than TJ.

As an adjunct member says, “You’re not a family, you’re a force.” Exactly, though not in the way you’d expect.

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780525539704

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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THREE-INCH TEETH

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

A bear is hunting prey in Wyoming’s Bighorns. And not just any bear.

It’s bad enough that Clay Hutmacher, who manages the Double Diamond Ranch, has lost his son, Clay Jr., to a vicious attack by a grizzly bear. What’s much worse is that Clay Jr.—who’d been about to pop the question to game warden Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan—is only the first of the victims over an exceptionally broad geographical area. Marshal Marvin Bertignolli is clawed and bitten to death over in Hanna. Sgt. Ryan Winner is found bleeding out north of Rawlins. Former Twelve Sleep County prosecutor Dulcie Schalk, one of two survivors of an ambush, doesn’t survive her final encounter. The four experts chosen to kill the grizzly rope Joe into their expedition, but since their quarry keeps turning up far from the last sighting, the most meaningful confrontation the Predator Attack Team has is with a pair of Mama Bears, animal rights activists who demand due process for Tisiphone, as they’ve dubbed the presumed killer. Box, who’s far too canny to leave Tisiphone alone on center stage, follows Joe’s old antagonist Dallas Cates as the ex–rodeo star is released from prison and embarks on his revenge tour, which takes him to Lee Ogburn-Russell, an inventor whose life Dallas saved, and Axel Soledad, a correspondent who shares so many enemies with Dallas that he suggests they go after them together. Franchise fans will appreciate new details about Joe’s complicated family, the obligatory high-country landscapes, and yet another corrupt law enforcer.

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780593331347

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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