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Lesser Demons
Norman Partridge
Subterranean Press, 278 pages

Lesser Demons
Norman Partridge
Norman Partridge is the author of The Ten-Ounce Siesta and Saguaro Riptide. Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales won the Bram Stoker Award for 1992 and his collection, The Man With Barbed-Wire Fists, won for 2001. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Tia V. Travis.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales

A review by Mario Guslandi

Award-winning author of short story collections and critically acclaimed novels, Norman Partridge is a versatile writer of dark fiction whose more recent stories are now assembled by Subterranean Press in Lesser Demons, featuring nine reprints plus a previously unpublished novella.

Trying to label and explain the main features of Partridge's style to those still unfamiliar with his work is not an easy task. He is a horror writer endowed with a powerful imagination, a vivid narrative technique and the ability to move effortlessly from the terror tale to pulp fiction, from the crime story to dark fantasy.

The present collection is an appropriate showcase of Partridge's eclectic production. Some stories are just unsettling portraits of weirdos, like the psychotic son of "The Fourth Stair Up from the Second Landing," and the guy who keeps his girlfriend locked either in the car trunk or on the closet of "And What Did You See In the World?"

"Second Chance" is the tense report of the unexpected outcome of an armored car hold-up gone wrong, while "Durston" is a violent western piece with an unusually dark side.

In the title story, "Lesser Demons," unspeakable horrors permeate a strong tale of Lovecraftian character with a touch of a zombie taste, definitely not for the squeamish.

In "Carrion," an intense, breathtaking action thriller, two former soldiers and a girl face evil powers in the middle of the desert by the Mexican border.

"Road Dogs" is a gripping, outstanding story, partly horror, partly pulp, one of the best werewolf tales I ever read.

"The Iron Dead" is a vicious, graphic novella in the tradition of classical pulp fiction, exuding gore and violence, featuring a peculiar hero with a mechanical hand, fighting with murderous creatures originated from that nowhere land set between earth and Hell.

From those who like their horror dishes served with a lot of salt and pepper, this book is a must.

Copyright © 2010 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.

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