The titular story, Wrathbone, was a fantastically disturbing read. The unreliable narrator - was he crazy? wasn't he? - was used to the fullest advantage here. That narration combined with Parent's flair for describing mind-melting scenes of horror delivered pure awesomeness. Henry Rathbone was a figure I desperately wanted to save. I felt a surprising amount of pity for him rather quickly. I found myself actually hoping things would work out for the best for the family. (Which is unusual considering I'm normally happy to see lots of death.)
The Only Good Lawyer was one of those cases where you knew it was going to end with a serious comeuppance. And yet knowing that it was going to end a certain way did absolutely nothing to abolish my enjoyment of the read. In fact, Parent still managed to deliver a small surprise at the end of the story. I was so caught up in what I was reading that I'd forgotten a key point. I rather enjoyed it!
Dorian's Mirror was odd. I didn't like it as much as the previous two, but it had an appeal that I can't deny. Obviously a riff on The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian's Mirror is for the modern age. I think what draws me to it is the obsession with eyeballing the things we see wrong with us. It's hard to look away from a perceived fault. And although Parent carries it to extremes here, the root is the same.
For the Birds was my least favorite. There wasn't anything wrong with it, necessarily. But, given the quality the author delivered with the other three stories, it seemed a cheap shot. Possibly even filler. This was a story I'd expect from someone who relied far more on shock and gore tactics than true talent to get someone creeped out.
Revenge is a Dish finishes this collection of stories, and changes my opinion on the book overall. Reading Wrathbone I thought I was in for a pure horror treat. By the time I was done with Revenge is a Dish, I feel like I've just finished with a collection of Tales from the Crypt episodes. Pretty typical revenge story fare about a chef that got caught stuffing his sausage somewhere he shouldn't have and feels he's the wronged party.
Overall, the stories range between okay to awesome, with Wrathbone maybe setting the bar a bit too high. Jason Parent has the ability to do some truly wicked things with his mind. I hope he continues to cultivate his talent and doesn't take the easy roads for horror too much in the future.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author for review consideration.