These ten stories from emerging writer of dark and suspenseful fiction, T.S. Junior depict alienated men and women walking the tightrope above bearable sanity and utter oblivion.
In “Son of a Ruined Patriot,” a son recounts the nightmarish experience of being kidnapped by his Iraq and Afghanistan veteran father, a man lethally obsessed with conspiracy theories, and held in a bunker. A character in the two part story, “The Women in Grenada,” struggles with a love he took for granted as a young serviceman; years later, he makes money as an underground boxer, embracing brutality to afford his mother’s medical bill while he tries to find the love he lost.
Other stories chronicle a rundown woman who has the time of her life pushing a stranger off a ledge (“The Well-Balanced Flamingo Motel”), a pair of ex-military men who stumble across a wicked biological experiment being conducted in a post-Apocalyptic Boston (“The Greenies”), a working class father from Florida feeling helpless as he’s faced with a broken leg and the impending homelessness of his family mid-2008 Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis (“The Character They’ll Have”), and a husband who plays a prank on his suicidal wife in the early days following the outbreak of WWIII (“Some Poor Taste Wartime Humor”).
The emotional cores of these stories resonate in the current moment because we all sense that life, as we know it, has become fragile enough to shatter, and as a result, American paranoia and gloom have replaced blind optimism about the future as the new normal.
Some Poor Taste Wartime Humor is equal parts dire warning and pressure release. Blending elements of literary, crime, sci-fi, and horror, this short story collection from an emerging dark voice like T.S. Junior’s is not one to miss for consumers of American short fiction.