Sergeant Chip and Other Novellas
by Bradley Denton
Review by Mel Jacob
Subterranean Press Hardcover (Limited/Signed ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596066380
Date: 01 May 2014
Subterranean Press offers novellas of well-known horror author, Bradley Denton. This collection includes three novellas: Sergeant Chip, Blackburn and the Blade, and the Adakian Eagle. Violence and evil are common themes in these three stories.
In Sergeant Chip, the Afghan conflict is viewed through the eyes of a K-9 soldier. It provides an interesting perspective on the fate of one unit caught by enemy fire, and then even worse, friendly fire. Chip, the war dog, earns his stripes in battle protecting his Captain and an Afghan family.
Chip's loyalty and bravery are tested again and again. His intelligence and sensitivity will endear him to the reader, but he also remains a serious threat to any who would hurt the family, including soldiers whether his former colleagues or Taliban.
In Blackburn and the Blade, Jim Blackman, a notorious killer more fully developed in Blackburn, Denton's first novel, encounters evil in Davenport on his way to Chicago. The novella follows his sufferings as a string of bad luck, including a worn out Falcon, causes him to need money and a new car.
The Adakian Eagle relates the tale of a young private in thrall to an ambitious colonel. The private, along with Corporal Dashiell Hamment (Pop), is sent to investigate the torture killing of an eagle on the island of Adak in the Aleutian Islands during World War II. Hamment produces the Akadian, the daily newspaper for the troops and, despite his lowly rank, has influence enough to ensure punishment of the guilty.
When the private and Pops are forced use an Aleut below ground shelter to avoid a deadly wind, they find the body of a seaman. Ambition and avarice can lead some men astray. Including Hamment provides an interesting touch to this tale.
All three novellas have various touches of death, the unexpected, and horror. Denton also provides insight into his writing and what inspired each story.