Look, let’s get one thing clear here. There’s no way I can be an impartial reviewer for this book. Matt Gomez is a longtime personal friend, and I’ve seen every one of these stories in their infancies, toddlerhoods, adolescences, and now in their full adult statuses. I’ve pushed and pulled at some of them because they were good but could have been better, marveled at how good they were even in rough drafts, and provided as much positive critical feedback as I thought I could do. For this to be anything other than a five-star review pushing my friend’s book like I’m trying to get Jimmy hooked on caps it would take an Act of Congress and a future of lifetime imprisonment. Even then I’d probably say “Fuck the police” and rate this thing five stars, trusting that he’d send me a file in a cake so that I could hack my way back to freedom.
So I’m not going to feed some bullshit about how I was provided this copy in exchange for a fair review because I BOUGHT IT OUTRIGHT. It feels weird as shit to just send a friend some cash for no reason, so instead I sent him cash for a reason.
AND YOU SHOULD TOO.
Is every story in here going to be your cup of tea? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s because you and I are probably aren’t friends. Because guess what! Every single story in here is, in fact, my cup of tea. And that means they can very well all be your preferred cup, too. In fact, if you average out the cost for these 20 stories of “genre trash,” (as Matt lovingly refers to these tales) you’ll spend less for the collection than a cup of tea at some place with a mermaid tail that sells tea at a cost that would make the Queen of bloody England blush. So yeah, you could get a mug of supposedly hot tea at a local diner for less than $4, but once you tack on a tip for the wait staff that fetches your cheap-ass Lipton tea bag and tepid water, you’d have been better off spending all of that money on this, frankly underpriced, collection.
If you go to Amazon and check the reviews, you’ll see that lots of reviewers have favorite stories, and they’ll give you right proper capsule synopses and justifications for their choices. That’s their right to do that, but I’m not about to pick favorites. My favorite is the dude who wrote the stories, and the stories themselves are extensions of his wit, skill, and sense of style. If you like kick-ass fight scenes described by someone who knows his way around a real blade, you’ll like this book. If you like down-on-their luck losers who muddle through cyberpunk dystopias while sticking to a moral code among the other low-lifes, you’ll like this book. If you want shady sorcerers, time-and-space traveling degenerates, Weird Westerns, and more badass swordswomen than you can shake a stick at, then you’ll like this book.
No, fuck that. You’ll love this book. And you’ll beg the author to write more. And you’ll count your lucky stars that he has in fact written more, and is still writing more. And you’ll see his name on the covers of such illustrious indie magazines as Pulp Modern, Grimdark, Econoclash Review, Storyhack, and Switchblade, among others, and his name will be worth the price of admission to those magazines alone.
His name here is worth the price of this admission alone. You can get shitty Taco Bell burritos that cost more than this book, and unlike this book, you’ll regret that waste of cash and wish to God Almighty that you’d just listened to me, slapped a bunch of ramen in the pot, and spent your money on this excellent collection of genre trash instead. And if I can get through to you with this review before you hit the drive-thru, or maybe even while you’re in line, you’ll hit reverse, smash your way through the other vehicles, and race into the nearest open parking spot, where you can whip out your overpriced iPhone (or better-in-every-way Android) to order this safely and then sit there for the next two hours while you devour these stories. Your belly might be empty, but your brain and your heart will be full.
Join the indie fiction cult. You’ve had enough of literary fiction bullshit anyway. Fill your head with genre trash and learn a thing or two.
All the impartial reviews can suck it, for all I care. This is a collection, and an author, who deserves nothing less than my completely biased praise. Buy this book. Thank me for suggesting it. And then wait with your salivating mind until the next time you see Matthew X. Gomez on the cover of another ‘zine.