The year is 1925, and psychical Baker Johnson finds himself at his late Uncles residence, ready to pick up the mantle of Keeper of the Black Room. That is until he sees things are not at all as they should be, the room that was always kept under lock is now open and empty, but why?
I had the pleasure of stumbling into reviewing my first Terry M West book (What Price Gory) back in Dec of last year (2013), and have been a big fan since (reviewing several of his works), but there is something different in this story, something that shows a refinement I don't believe I have seen from him before. Don't get me wrong Terry is a smart writer who seems to weave tales with an ease of form, that wrap you up in them, and this one is no different. What is different is the level of sophistication he brings to this story that sets it apart from anything else I have read by him, it makes my mind wander back to Shirley Jackson, and The Haunting of Hill House. And yes there are some obvious correlations in the stories that could be made but it goes much deeper than anything so superficial as the story line itself and lives more in the delivery, underlying tones of psychological drama and unanswered mystery set forth.
Terry M West has mastered a whole new way of story telling with The Giving of Things Cold and Cursed, its a sleek tale that is completely fulfilling, and yet begs for more all at once, written in a style of prose that is deliciously eloquent, and completely fitting of the main character Baker and his learned background, as well as the time period. It is quite simply beautifully written, superbly edited and trying to explain the incredible depth of aesthetic in this particular short is like trying to explain the virtues of a well aged Scotch vs moonshine. much like the yarns Terry spins they are equally good but in very very different ways, and until you experience them for yourself you can never fully grasp just how delicious and satisfying they are.
I have felt since day one with Mr West, that he is one of the best writers of modern shorts.I have said it before but it is worth repeating. He brings it back to an art form that is meant to be savored by the reader, as we relish his words letting them ruminate, feasting on them long after we have turned the last page. If you can read ONLY one of Terry M Wests' works make it The Giving of Things Cold and Cursed, a timeless piece that will leave you exploring the possibilities for years to come.
My only regret with this this one is that it is our journey with the esteemed Mr Johnson is over so soon after it begins, so on bended knee I ask, Mr. West..., please, please sir may I have more?! I am desperate for another 170 pages to let Baker live on, and yet I know to change one thing would be true horror! Terry finishes this one in a way that echos masters of the genres past! Kudos sir, you obviously have many surprises yet in store for us, and I for one am grateful...
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