Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: first communions by Geoffrey Girard

Geoffrey Girard collected together several of his published short fiction and added in a original content to deliver first communions, the latest short fiction collection from Apex Book Company. I had the privilege to meet Geoffrey Girard and purchase a signed copy of this book at ConGlomeration in Louisville. I've encountered one of the stories inside previously in the Dark Faith, a collection of religious horror short stories, and another in the recent issue of Apex Magazine. I enjoyed every story in this book as each had its own merits and a unique style.

The stories range from haunting to comical to fantastical with disturbing images abound. There is Translation floating mind-controlling aliens with a family tearing each other apart while the writer father has to listen to Collecting James and skull fragment collecting serial killer. Girard does not hold back on the violence and seems to find the best words to describe the horrifyingly disgusting things that happen. He even includes a YA sample in the form of H. E. Double Hockey Sticks, which shows how horror can still be fun and humorous. 

The setting range from an old Indian land with a horrible secret in Release Me to curse pirate ships in Dead in the Water. The future is mainly bleak in Girard's stories with zombies over running the world and used as choral instruments in Unto the Lord a New Song or a nursing home that has to finally be demolished after the residents have gone on living for centuries in For Restful Death I Cry. His research pays off for stories like Pyschomachia about a strange occurrence in coal mines and Misdirection telling the tale of a French musician in Algeria. 

Girard plays with narrative styles whether it is second person, stream of conscious, or a mix of several perspectives like the brilliant and chilling title story First Communions. Even when the author goes more literary like Crawl, the images will get under your skin and make you itch. My favorite story was Dark Harvest about a small town that discovers an injured Ringwraith that has fallen from its flying steed. 

For fans of horror, zombies, and well-used gore, I would highly recommend this collection of sixteen stories. It is also very cool from a writer and reader's perspective to see the inspiration and publication history of these stories, which Girard includes at the end. I felt the whole book came together nicely to give me a nice dose of horror in each story that made me continue reading on to the next one. Girard also has several cool novels out that hope to read soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I’m writing to see if you’d be interested in having YA author Geoffrey Girard and his upcoming book, TRUTHERS, as a guest on your blog this summer. We are currently scheduling interviews, ARC reviews, and – as/if requested – playlists, dream casts, etc. Whatever works best for you and your readers!

    About TRUTHERS: (coming August 1st from Carolrhoda Books)

    Katie Wallace had never given much thought to 9/11. But when her father is locked up for claiming to know what really happened that momentous day, Katie’s life, and connection to 9/11, changes forever. He insists he has evidence of a nightmare conspiracy that will shatter America’s beliefs and that Katie herself is living proof, a survivor, of the true story.

    To save her father, and discover her own past, Katie must navigate the clouded and secretive world of ‘The Truthers.’ A world of fact and fiction, of questions and distortion. With the help of close friends and new allies, and as she’s drawn into an ever more-deadly web of lies, Katie finds the strength and trust within herself to face those trying to prevent the truth from being known.

    Exploring the roots of our conspiracy-theory culture, the controversy of the 9/11 Truth movement, and the historic records of that fateful day, the speculative and introspective thriller TRUTHERS invites a new generation to learn about 9/11 and, also, the high costs, responsibility, and traps of searching for “truth.”

    Early Praise for TRUTHERS:

    "With compelling characters and non-stop action, Truthers will leave you thinking."
    - Mindy McGinnis - Edgar-winning author of The Female of the Species
    "Told through the eyes of a tenacious teen who kept me up at night, challenging the things I'd previously regarded as fact. A deep, yet approachable story, both thrilling and touching."
    Kristen Simmons - author of the ARTICLE 5 Series and Metaltown
    "Girard is a skilled storyteller, weaving history and conspiracy into a thriller that's bold, smart, and impossible to put down." - Natalie D. Richards, author of Six Months Later and One Was Lost
    About Geoffrey: Geoffrey Girard writes thrillers, historicals, and dark speculative fiction for adults and teens. His first YA, the techno-thriller PROJECT CAIN published by Simon and Schuster, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for "Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel."
    His short fiction has appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future. The debut collection of his short fiction, First Communions, was published by Apex Books earlier this year. Born in Germany and shaped in New Jersey, Geoffrey currently lives in Ohio where he is the English Department Chair at a private boys' high school and teaches creative writing, philosophy in literature, and horror. He has a BA in English literature and an MA in creative writing, and will finish his MFA this year.

    Please let me know if you’d like to schedule Geoffrey and/or TRUTHERS for your site. He’s planning to incorporate giveaways, ARCs, original hardbacks, etc. and he’s quite adaptable to whatever format you think would best serve your audience. Scheduling now for late June, all of July and early August.

    Let me know if you have any questions, etc., and thanks very much for your consideration.

    Hope to hear from you soon!