Stabs at Happiness (Todd Grimson)

Need something to do on a the last dismal Friday in your 2012 November? Local author Todd Grimson and Schaffner Press have put together a night of music and reading on Friday 11/30/12. It is a free event and folks should go check it out!

The shindig is going down in celebration of a new collection of Grimson short stories, “Stabs At Happiness”. Event is happening at the Jack London Bar (529 SW 4th Ave) in Portland, Oregon. Various authors will be reading shorts from the collection, live bands from 9:20 till close. Should be a good way to close out the month :) !

Yelp/Location info for Jack London (basement below the Rialto)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-jack-london-bar-portland
http://www.rialtopoolroom.com/
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Review- Stabs at Happiness: 13 Stories
I have a thing for Todd Grimson, his novels are sharp, clean, and tracking the pulse of cool before the cool folks know what they are looking for. His groundbreaking vampire novel ‘Stainless’, and the stylish Voodoo-chic of ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ are solid works deserving the attention of horror and speculative fiction fans.

Grimson is not to be pigeon holed as just a novelist. Over the years, his Short Stories have been published in various magazines and compendiums. ‘Stabs at Happiness’ is a new collection of shorts is comprised of previously published work, both under his own name and varied pseudonyms.

There are thirteen stories in the collection. As with all Short stories, readers will find that certain shorts resonate more with them than others. I found myself commonly wishing that there were more to the stories, that they were a single chapter of a book I could pull from a shelf and consume liberally. This does not read as “incomplete” only that i wanted more. and am greedy. Others were not much more than a lengthy character sketch, which many people I know would love. As such approach this collection with gleeful skepticism, you may not be dragged into every tale, but those which grab you won’t let you go.

Stand outs from my reading:
- “Brighter and Brighter”, a none too lengthy ride with a man and a child in an old Plymouth. Blood recently spilt and a code of ethics in the way of an easy escape, their conversation raises mixed feelings of honor vs post crime cleanup. I cant tell if I like the driver, or if I want some one to cap him.
- In “P not Q”, a man leaves a bunker in the heart of the desert, freshly showered and dedicated to the underground project he is part of. Picking a man up at the airport, turns out to be more confusing than the underground org is expecting. I was as confused as the characters on this, but it was enjoyable.
- “Lamentations of Babylon”, Kimberly and Jean-Luc, in a stormy paranoia, traverse a world of beat poetry and film snobbery. It is a mess of human douche baggery, combined with the fall of Assyria. An excellent read, but might require an open wikipedia search for folks unfamiliar with the above key points…
- The title work “Stabs at Happiness” is a total ClusterF*ck of awesome. It is not for everyone.. Read on.. It is angsty, erotic, a fair amount of disturbing. The main character Nikki is a little bit Lisbeth, a little bit Wednesday, and a lotta bit Trinity sans matrix. If you do not care to read about strap-ons and a sad sad boy, you may skip it.. But it is very good.
- The true shining gem in this collection deserves to be stripped out and novelized. “Batista’s Lieutenant” is a Cubano tale that spans multiple years/decades. The characters are vibrant, the story engaging. The trouble is the short story format. This deserves a re-treatment as a full novel, or even a novella. I hope the author gets some additional feedback and gives this story the respectful treatment it commands.

Pages: 216
Publisher: Schaffner Press
Published: 2012
ISBN-10: 1936182440
ISBN-13: 978-1936182442

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This review is based on a book kindly provided for free by the publisher or author. Please check my FTC Douche-claimer for details regarding this disclaimer’s existence.

Comments

  1. Few of my friends are Todd Grimson fan, I have never really read any of his work. I think it would be a great idea to start with a short stories!
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  2. I agree with many of your picks for stand out stories. “P Not Q” and “Lamentations of Babylon” were also among my favorites, I think because they left me with something to think about after setting the book down. Great review.

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