Jedidiah Ayres is unknown to me, which is one of the reasons I picked this collection. 2013 is going to be a year where everything I read on Kindle will be new crime stuff (new to me, at least). And all my paperbacks will be literary fiction I’ve not read before. But I digress. This isn’t about me, it’s about Jedediah Ayres and A F*ckload of Shorts.
I’ve seen Ayres mentioned on Twitter a few times and also on a few blogs I read, and all the mentions have been positive. That and the fact that it was published by the excellent Snubnose Press was enough to make me pick up this collection of shorts. And I’m glad I did because for the most part I really enjoyed it.
Ayres’ stories tend towards the grim and mostly reside in crime fiction territory, although there are a few exceptions to this. The humour is sick and twisted, which is a good thing, and his imagination throws up some very dark shit. At its best (the linked stories Mahogany & Monogamy and Fuckload of Scotch Tape; Hoosier Daddy, The Whole Buffalo and Viscosity) it works incredibly well, mixing extreme black comedy with noir tropes to create something fresh and new – not something that’s easy on the well-trodden noir path. Overall it’s a really strong collection, but I have to add that The Adversary, despite being well written, felt too long and I found myself skipping and speed reading through it, but that’s just me – you might love it.
This collection comes highly recommended.