Friday, March 28, 2014


Welcome to the first edition of "Read For the Weekend" where I review a standalone piece of fiction to whet your literary appetites over the weekend as you wait for a new blog post on Monday. Of course, feel free to read these whenever you want but I do hope that you read. You will never run out of good books to read. The search can and should be endless, the enjoyment everlasting. Keep reading!

On Wednesday, I discussed Chris F. Holm's incredible COLLECTOR series. I told you that Holm had other books worth reading and this is one of them. Also, you can purchase it on Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle reading app for only $0.99. It's a great deal. Check it out! With that in mind, how does Holm's short fiction measure up to his longer works?

If you're anything like me, you probably discovered the short story long ago. It yields a very different kind of experience than the novel or other longer forms and success at novel writing does not always equal success with short fiction. Stephen King is one of the best at short fiction, in my opinion. I would count Chris F. Holm with him.

As mentioned before, there is not a single word out of place when you read something by Holm. No word that should be there that isn't. No extra or unnecessary words. He seems entirely confident with his literary voice and in command of his craft. That's how his stories feel -- finely and carefully crafted.

As the title implies, this collection features eight tales. Some are amazing, some work better than others, all are worth your time. Stories like "Seven Days of Rain" and "A Better Life" about a man and a woman who move into the country for a simpler life and find themselves at odds with what appears to be a mouse pack a wicked punch that will catch you off guard and leave you devastated. Others like "The Toll Collectors" will make your skin crawl. Chris F. Holm will take down a path of crime and horror that manages to be so disturbing because it is so human. As with the COLLECTOR series, Holm is a master of characterization here as well. You are only afforded tiny glimpses, passing moments of  these people but Holm always captures the perfect moment. The characters hold on as long as they can and we hold onto them, in desperation, before Holm rips them from us precisely when he means to.

"The Well" might be the only story here that didn't really work for me and it happens to also be the shortest tale here. I feel like the final gut punch might have been more effective if it had been set up just a little bit more. Of all the stories, it felt the most false.

Even at his worst, though, Holm is a consummate storyteller. He is a master fisherman in the Lake of Story and he knows what monstrous wonders lie in its waters. He can fish those wonders out and knows better than practically anyone I have ever encountered what to do with them. You really owe it to yourself to read this book and all books by Chris F. Holm. After reading him, you'll lament that there aren't too many others in his league but his Lake is mythical and its gifts will sustain you forever.

If you do pick up 8 POUNDS, please let me know what you think so we can share in our love of books. As always. keep reading!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE COLLECTOR series by Chris F. Holm

Hello everyone! Welcome to Craig's Book-ends. I'm not here to talk about myself but you are probably wondering what this place is all about so I'll invite you to look under where it says "Craig's Book-ends" to read the blog description and it'll tell you what you need to know. With that out of the way, I'd like to dive in and talk about some great books!