Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Howling Detective, by Brandon O'Brien

★★★☆☆ Average

(Modern Fantasy) Ken knows he’s been sleepwalking, so he sets up a camera to catch a picture of himself going outside. When he sees a thing with fur and claws wearing his clothes, he knows he’s got a big problem. And why is it dragging a coffin? (4,848 words; Time: 16m)

"The Howling Detective," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 21, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The alternation between Ken’s experiences and the (much later) report in the newspaper works pretty well, once you figure it out. (The formatting on the Kindle makes this more confusing than it ought to be, but I’m guessing the online version will have clear scene breaks.) The news report creates all sorts of uncertainties that Ken’s account gradually clears up (e.g. the boy was “assaulted” with a cane stalk, which sounds odd given the extent of his injuries until we learn it’s a euphemism for him being impaled on a cane).

The conclusion seems to set us up for more stories. Ken has a new career hunting down villains, while the policeman is dedicated to hunting him down.

Con: Some things never get cleared up. What was with the 7-foot coffin Ken’s alter ego was dragging out of his own house? Why was it full of things that changed substance while he watched them? And if the kid’s grave was so easy for Ken to find, why didn’t the police find it first?

A new career as a were-vigilante doesn't sound all that great.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 21)
Brandon O'Brien Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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