DEAD RECKONING by Dino Parenti - 4 Stars
I’m a fan of anthologies and love to read them. Dead Reckoning by Dino Parenti is a strong collection of twisted and unsettling stories. The author is a talented wordsmith who writes in deep point of view, which transports the reader into the middle of the action led by the cast of ominous characters. His settings are atmospheric and descriptive.
With sixteen stories, it’s not usual to find one or two that a reader may not connect to as easily as the rest. There was a couple that I found a little bogged down in narrative that could have used more dialogue. That is not a reflection on the author, just the preference of this reader.
The author starts off with a bang. Entropy is a somber, twisted tale that keeps us guessing until the very end. I loved that. Some of the other standouts (without giving too much away) for me were, Incarnate and Petrichor.
Mojito weaves a dark, deviant path to a conclusion that I never saw coming. Those are the best endings. Although on a second a reading (it was that good), I recognized a clue or two. But I have to say, the book’s namesake, Dead Reckoning was my favorite. The encounters between a priest and a homicidal cop (no spoilers, it’s mentioned in the blurb) are edgy, gritty and downright creepy. I couldn’t wait to see what happened; yet I didn’t want it to end.
I’ve highlighted five stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of them, even the two that I mention above, because Mr. Parenti’s characters are well written and dangerous with nothing to lose. Desperation always ratchets up the tension/suspense and soon we are drawn in, emerged in the stories, quickly turning the pages to see if they are pushed to the point of no return. No matter the outcome, we are never disappointed.
‘Tis the season for disturbing tales that sends chills and thrills up your spine. You’ll find all that and more in between the pages Dead Reckoning.
I was give an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Dead Reckoning is available on AMAZON.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dino Parenti is a writer of dark literary and speculative fiction. He is the winner of the first annual Lascaux Review flash fiction contest and is featured in the Anthony Award winning anthology Blood on the Bayou. His work can be found in Pantheon Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Pithead Chapel, as well as other anthologies. He is a fiction editor at Gamut Magazine and a member of the HWA.
When not purging his soul into a laptop thanks to a far-too-early exposure to Stephen King, Scorsese movies, and Camus, he can be found photographing the odd junk pile, building furniture, or earning a few bucks as a CAD drafter. He lives in Los Angeles.