Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reviewing a Short Story Collection

Well hello dear readers!  After spending the day with my son digging out from one snowstorm after another, recovering our front door access and attempting to find our cars buried under the enormous heaps of fluffy winter wonder, I am finally able to bring another book review to you.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  Snow always brings out the kid in me.  So let's get onto that review - better late than never, eh?

Book Summary:
Murders, Bikers, and a Meteor is a collection of four dark tales ranging in genre from crime drama to science fiction and horror.  Join a young couple in the 1950's as they investigate a mysterious meteor crash in Arizona's Sonora desert, and an extraterrestrial encounter leaves one of the kids with a whole different view of life and death.  Or take a ride with a notorious motorcycle gang as their path crosses with an unsuspecting small town sheriff on a hot and humid Ozark Mountain day.  See what happens when an innocent man answers his phone and finds himself thrust into the dysfunctional world of his drug addict roommate, and a prostitute.  Take a late night road trip under a full moon with a high school student down a desolate highway that his parents had warned him not to take ... He should have listened to his mom and dad.

My Review:
I have to say from the get-go that little in this collection of short stories interested me.  All four stories stories encompassed less than a hundred pages in PDF format and really jumped all over the place.

The first story is about Ronnie, a drug addicted kid from the 60's who likes nothing more than to spend his days smoking weed and getting high.  To avoid the cops after leaving work high one night, Ronnie takes a side road home - and has an encounter he will never forget. 

The second story shifts forward into modern times (without a hint until well into the story) and is about Kurt, a worthless excuse for a man.  Kurt gets himself involved with a prostitute who steals his car, only to return later in the morning to suffer at the hands of Kurt's murderous wrath.  Axl, Kurt's best friend, takes him too and fro when the car is stolen, only to internally whine about being taken advantage of by his supposed "friend" and then to be beaten about by this same so-called "friend" and left as an accomplice to a murder.

Shift back in time to the 50's for the third story about Glen and Sharon, two high-school teenagers making out in the Arizona desert one night and finding themselves witnesses to a strange meteor crash that leaves behind a trail of dripping molten fire.  Upon closer inspection, Glen is struck momentarily blind as he suffers through periodic seizures over the next hour or so.  During these spasms, he sees images of people he knows suffering through crashes, old age, and death.

The final story encompasses three guys from a gang leaving a bar after several days of swimming in alcohol and meth.  They carry a bag full of cash, possibly from a big drug sale (it's never really explained) and drive through a small Arkansas town, where Luther, the local sheriff, spends his days taking care of widows and their dogs.  Lives are lost by the arrival of Johnny and the gang to this small town.

Through all four stories, we find misspellings, punctuation errors, tense shifts, and a lot of point-of-view shifts.  The style and presentation were very stilted and rather adolescent - though I wouldn't recommend adolescents reading the stories because of the drug usage, prostitution, and murder references.  At no time did I feel empathy for or connections to the characters. 

About the only character that elicited any sympathy from me was Virgil-the-dog.  A couple of references were interesting, such as a character getting up off of the "man-eating couch".  Then also I felt a twinge of concern for Ronnie as the alien character was chasing him through the cornfield and rooted for him to escape.  Other than these, there was little here that would have kept me reading, subjectivity being what it is.  However, if you find anything in the descriptions that pique your interest, pick up a copy of K. J. Klimasz's Murders, Bikers, and a Meteor.

Author Bio:
K. J. Klimasz lives with his wife and their three kids in the same small town both he and his wife grew up in about thirty miles away from St. Paul, Minnesota.  K. J.'s favorite sport is hockey and he volunteers as a goalie coach for the youth hockey program in his hometown.  He also enjoys fly fishing.  Bass and Musky are his local favorites, but Bonefish and Tarpon off the coast of Belize are his all-time favorites.  Family vacations are important to K. J. and his wife, and they try to take family vacations twice a year but usually settle for one.

K. J. has worked as a machinist, a carpenter, and is currently working as a toolmaker building and repairing plastic injection molds.  Visit his website at

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