There is nothing harder to review than a book of collected short stories by various authors. From the different styles to the different levels of production, short story collections can be, as Forest Gump’s momma says, “like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get”.
Well, Waiting to Be Forgotten makes my job a bit easier because all the stories are good; albeit some are better than others.
The concept to the collection is a great one; each story is inspired by a title of a song from the group, The Replacements. Each author’s take on a different song leads to a different experience, yet the stories all seem intertwined with feelings of revenge, dread, hope, and desire.
Some of my favorite offerings from this collection:
Customer by S.W. Lauden: The anthology kicks off with a hell of a tale of love and revenge. Lauden has gotten my attention with everything he has written and this story is no exception. A perfect recipe for revenge served cold.
Within Your Reach by Alex Segura: If the first few paragraphs from this one don’t make you scratch your head and say WTF, I don’t know what will. Starts with a standard noir outline; man has access to money that isn’t his, he meets a dame who has plans to get money that isn’t hers, man makes plans that will never pan out…ah, you know the rest. But Segura infuses this tale with some unique characters and twists and ended up with a tale that did everything right.
Gary’s Got a Boner by Johnny Shaw: With a title like this and an author like Shaw, you know you better buckle up for this one. Add one part of a man who needs some spice to his sex life, one part Mexican cop with bad intentions, sauté it with the effects from a Mexican sex pill and you have all the ingredients for a hell of a read. Johnny Shaw can do no wrong and this quick read is just more proof for any doubters.
Kiss Me on the Bus by Angel Luis Colon: A great story of the balancing act that goes on between finding love and feeding the itch of addiction. Had a heartbreaking feel, but mixes in feelings of hope.
Left of the Dial by Eric Beetner: I love Beetner and everything he writes. Here is gives us two men who find one killing quickly begets another. Issues can arise when you aren’t totally committed to the task at hand. Beetner’s streak of writing winners continues.
The Ledge by Josh Stallings: A family torn apart by drugs and the legacy that drugs leave on the soul. Stallings is at his best writing about pain, torment, and guilt. This was my favorite story in a collection of great stories. Sweet Jesus, this is a good one.
All in all, this is one hell of a great collection of stories. From established authors who have had my interest for years, to newer writers who have now piqued interest, there is something for everyone here. I loved the cover, I love the concept, and most importantly for a reader, I loved the writing. This is going to knock your socks off. Dare I say Waiting to Be Forgotten is a perfect holiday gift for the noir lover you want to keep out of your hair for a few hours.
Reviewed by Derrick Horodyski.