Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book Review - Ragged Souls by Ernest San Giacomo

The Book on Amazon UK

Of the three stories which Ernesto has included in Ragged Souls, I enjoyed the final one, Cactus Valley, the most. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the first two, though I felt that with regards to the first story in particular, A Purveyor of Odd Things, there is actually a much better, bigger story in there, fighting to get out. There's a sense of the plot and the character development having been 'squeezed' into a short story, resulting in some elements of the narrative (particularly the burgeoning relationship between the two main characters) feeling rushed. I also felt that this story, perhaps more than the second and third ones, needed the 'bizarre' element to be more fully explained.
Story number two, Martha's Kitchen, is quite heavy on dialogue, which may not be to everyone's taste. However, the backstory and the two main characters, Martha and Jillian, are developed to a more satisfyingly level. The plot twist, when it arrives, is pleasingly sudden. The final scene, in my humble opinion, would have more impact if it were considerably shorter, but that doesn't really detract from the overall tale.
Story number three, Cactus Valley, as I mentioned earlier, is my favourite. Ernesto creates two interesting, though not entirely likeable, main characters and engenders a good sense of isolation and peril around them. There is an almost comedic element to this tale, based on a clash of ideologies, which is the most satisfying of the three 'bizarre' twists.
Overall, three very readable short stories that I'd certainly encourage people to have a look at.