July 10, 2015 by Laird
Norman Partridge is one of the unsung heroes of literary horror. He could have written crime in the vein of Elmore Leonard and Joseph Wambaugh, or noir like Jim Thompson. He could have done up westerns and mountain man novels in echo of Louis L’Amour and William Johnstone. Norm surely knows his Lovecraft, Lansdale, and Robert E. Howard. Instead, he took those influences and fused them into the service of a career in the weird and the macabre.
Authors are always in dialogue with our predecessors. We benefit, or suffer, from the influence of those who went before. Partridge ranks among the contemporary greats because of his nascent talent, and also because he successfully embeds literary influences into his own style, and does it in such a way that you cannot help but see the parts moving individually and in conjunction.
This is tough-as-nails hard-boiled horror with a streak of weirdness and paranoia a country mile wide. It is wholly North American in its sympathies, its textures, and its provenance. Highly recommended for fans of the genre; essential for new writers as an example of how it’s done by one of the best short story writers in the business.