Written by: Nathan Crazybear
Wrath James White is one of the most prominent names in the extreme horror genre. He is the author of numerous extreme titles including “Teratologist,” which he coauthored with Edward Lee. His novel “The Resurrectionist,” was made into the 2014 film Come Back to Me. White returns with the collection “Something Terrible,” but this time he is accompanied by a new voice in extreme horror, his son, Sultan Z.White.
“Something Terrible,” kicks off with an introduction by none other than Brian Keene himself. Keene eloquently discusses fatherhood, writing, and how the two inevitably collide. While his exploration of the relationship between father and son as writers is touching, more than that, it frames how we experience the rest of the collection and perfectly leads into the titular story, which opens “Something Terrible.”
This father-son dynamic is perhaps the best part of “Something Terrible,” as the collection offers the experience of reading tales spun both by a veteran writer in Wrath, and a budding young voice in Sultan. Each of the writers has two stories apiece between the book’s covers, as well as a novella coauthored by the duo. The majority of the works in “Something Terrible,” are about novella-length, offering a number of entertaining single-sitting reads.
While the stories aren’t remarkably strong, it should be noted that Wrath and Sultan know how to keep a reader entertained. Each of the works in “Something Terrible,” delivers disturbing imagery, well-researched detail, and a fast-paced story of horror that always terminates in destruction. While stories like “Amber Alert,” keep readers on the edge of their seat, pieces like “Fallen Apple,” have a stronger thematic approach, a testament to the Whites’ ability to bring extreme horror with as much brains as stomach-churning scenery.
“Something Terrible,” gives readers a series of entertaining rides though doesn’t ever quite venture into “great.” For instance, the authors’ co-written work, “Sins of the Father,” is written in a creative narrative form, as a series of interviews with the tale’s characters, but seems to fight with itself, the characters’ voices all merging and seeming to want to be written as more of a traditional narrative. Or the closing story, “Amber Alert,” which has a character whose action seems to contradict development he’d just been given. It’s various problems such as these that ail the works of Wrath James White and Sultan Z. White in this collection, and therefore make “Something Terrible,” really only something okay.
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