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Something In The Water Eddie Generous Main

"Something in the Water (Collections Book 2)" Book Review

Written by Steve Pattee

Published by Unnerving

Something In The Water Eddie Generous Large

Written by Eddie Generous
2019, 164 pages, Fiction
Released on May 21st 2019

Review:

After reading two novels from Eddie Generous, Great Big Teeth and Radio Run, it was high time I read a collection of his. The main reason for this is while I already knew I enjoyed his monsters, I wanted to see how much range he had and reading a collection of short stories generally is a surefire way of doing that. And with the recent release of his two latest, Head-Broken and Heartbroken (Collections Book 1) and Something in the Water (Collections Book 2), the timing couldn’t be better.

Let me get two things out of the way real quick (showing how clueless I can be). First, not only does Generous already have a collection our there – Dead is Dead, but Not Always – and not only did Shane review it for Horror DNA, but I actually own it and didn’t realize it. I don’t feel too bad; most readers I know have books they don’t know they have. Also, I plan on reviewing Head-Broken and Heart Broken (Collections Book 1) too. If I had known it was “Book 1”, I would have read it first. To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention and thought Something in the Water had a far cooler cover. I’m betting which you read first won’t matter since they are (apparently) standalone stories. But I’ll know for sure soon, I suppose. Anyway, on with the show.

The book couldn’t have opened with a better story for my needs. As mentioned, I was curious what more Generous could do besides monsters since I saw hints of depth in both novels I had read. Well, “It’s What We’d All Want” immediately shows that he has more in his wheelhouse than beasts. The story follows a trio of boys dealing with the loss of a loved one. It’s both sad and creepy, and I was hooked from the first paragraph:

We were in our suits, dusty black shoes, and short black ties. The adults stared at us, soft, damp, incessant eyes, convinced we didn’t understand, not at our ages. Impossible. We listened to them fuss over the perfection of this and that, only one chance to get this important thing right. The air inside house shrank under the weight of the stress behind the message.

That’s all so very heavy, and I experienced the story more than read it.

One of the things I like so far in my growing relationship with Generous’s books is how he wears his influences on his sleeve without being obnoxious about it. He knows how to give a nod to something without ripping off the original, and nowhere is that more apparent than in my favorite tale in Something in the Water, “Proper Farmer”. What makes this one a delight is how it drips with the influence of Stephen King to the point where I’d be shocked if it wasn’t an intentional homage to one of my favorites of King’s growing up. However, it doesn’t feel like any sort of rewrite. The story manages to be both original and a nod to something else, and that takes talent. And yes, I’m intentionally being vague because you should let the pieces fall into place on their own and have the same “I see what you did there!” moment I did without me ruining it for you.

“Dog Tired” is another fun story that takes place within one of my favorite subgenres in horror. However, the big bad in the tale isn’t the center of it; instead, it’s the characters. The best way I can explain this is you know how in Romero’s zombie films, the ghouls, while they play a huge part of the films right down to the titles, generally take second seat to the characters? It’s kind of like that here. We spend the majority of the time with the two main folks and only at the end do we get a full-on introduction to what they are avoiding. (Again, I’m dancing around so you can experience the story without spoilers.) I would love to read a whole novel in this universe. The premise is fascinating.

There are 13 stories in Something in the Water, and I’m not going to discuss each and every one (although I would very much like to). Like most collections, some stories resonate more than others, but unlike most collections there isn’t a bad one in the mix. From the weird-ass-but-fitting ending in “The Flood” to the completely not-supernatural-but-still-terrifying holy-shit-this-could-happen-in-real-life “Classroom Hijinks”, if I had any doubt at all about Generous’s range as an author, Something in the Water put it all to rest. There’s humor, sadness, fear, sorrow, and more found in these pages, and it solidifies why I have become such a fast fan of his words.

Grades:

Overall: Fourandahalfstars Something In The Water Eddie Generous Small
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About The Author
AR2
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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