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Robert Swartwood was born in 1981. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Postscripts, Chizine, Space and Time, elimae, Wigleaf, PANK, and The Los Angeles Review. He is the author of several novels and the editor of Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer.
on July 11, 2011 :
In this novelette the college student Josh's life completely breaks down within a few hectic hours. He has not performed well in school and at the same time as he has his disappointed foster father on the phone, who just gave him a curfew, Josh discovers that his younger foster brother Tyler is behaving very weird. He is namely in the garden digging a grave. On top of that Josh and his girlfriend Amanda have put their self in a very precarious situation.
This is a fun story that I certainly cannot take as seriously as other titles I've read by Robert Swartwood, but I like it. It could have been an episode of the TV series Tales from the Crypt. Some of it is also reminiscent of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. We may follow the progagonist to the bottom of a cave where something very strange is hiding and where very strange things happen. The victims of what lurks in the cave die, but comes back changed. And there will be mayhem. It all starts with his younger brother Tyler's dog Laddie, and then not many stays alive.
The story is very entertaining in the form of a novelette, as novel, it had become unbearable. I can easily imagine this story as part of a collection of short stories in Stephen King's spirit.
Through the Guts of a Beggar is published as an e-book that also contains an alternate end (which I did not like) and also the short stories Dead Weight, Castle Hybrid and extracts from the novels The Calling and The Dishonored Dead.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on June 17, 2010 :
This is a pretty creepy story. Because it was kids having to deal with the scary stuff, I found myself holding my breath through part of it. He did a nice job of creating character personalities and building the story. But the end seemed a bit rushed, and there were a few loose ends, like the story got cut off too soon.
(review of free book)