A Fine Collection of Short Stories by Gary Robert Henry @LiteraryGary – My Review

I like short stories. They are usually as delicious as a full-length novel. If an author is good at his craft, in only a few words you can read into a story the details necessary to visualize the characters and backdrop so that it feels as if you are reading a longer story. Gary Robert Henry does just that in What Happened to Jory – and Other Dark Departures.

No two stories are alike in this collection and all are compelling. He goes from the killing ground in a Roman coliseum with the sights, sounds, and scents of ancient Rome in A Barbarian in Rome, to a backwoods trailer in Arkansas in the title story, What Happened To Jory.

In A Barbarian in Rome, I like the use of the barbarian’s fevered dreams of his childhood and the way Gary tied them in to what was currently happening to him after a losing battle to the legionnaires.

In What Happened To Jory, the Gary tells a story about a couple of men, living simple lives, brewing the best homebrew around, until they run into monsters too horrible to name on a night described by an old neighbor as Val-purg night. Without describing the monsters, the writing focuses on describing how Jory is bitten, scratched, stung, and gouged; leaving a mewing mess of a pitiful shell of a man.

Ask Vlad the Impaler is like an advice columnist on steroids, The Dakota Ridge Anachronism is a Jurassic joy ride, Epiphany is a grim tale of fallen soldiers, The Good The Bad and The Hairy about a tough female investigator, Roth’s Machine about a science project gone wrong, and a funny little tale of infidelity in The Husband’s Tale where the wife is super-human, but she just doesn’t understand her man and he seeks attention elsewhere.

I especially liked A Barbarian in Rome. At first I had difficulty with the roman titles and names, but the story was so good that I want more of Cugirtha, the barbarian. The story read like an epic poem, almost musical in its delivery, and I was immediately engrossed.

I highly recommend you go out and by this collection, What Happened To Jory – And Other Dark Departures, By Gary Robert Henry. Each story is well crafted and will hold your interest and leave you wanting more.


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