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Black Static Ten – April/May 2009
Edited by Andy Cox
Cover Artist: David Gentry
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press  ISBN/ITEM#: 1753-0709
Date: 28 April 2009

Links: TTA Press / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Black Static #10 is here with new stories by Christopher Fowler, Gary McMahon, Scott Lambridis, Maura McHugh, James Cooper, and Shannon Page, together with the usual fascinating articles and reviews.

Black Static #10 arrived in my mailbox just in time for me to review it for the April issue. All the stories got a very good from me..

The fiction in this issue begins with another of my favorite writers, he's not new to anyone but me, as I discovered him late last year. I've read his Bryant and May series and some collections of his short stories but "Piano Man" in this issue is something different from Christopher Fowler. He shows he can write something more like a traditional horror story and do it very well. Our narrator is a journalist. Looking to find a secret New Orleans in the post-Katrina era, he comes across a story involving a dead Voodoo Queen and the unusual piano that she built. Two men are after it, one named Stormy and the other Sam Threefinger. Their battle makes for a ripping good yarn!

Next up, is "The Chair" by Gary McMahon. Ben lives with his mother. His father had left them sometime before. For some reason, Ben is on medication of a sort. One night, he looks out his window and sees an old chair on the street outside. The next morning, the chair is gone and he decides to go off his meds. Things deteriorate from there in this quiet, effective little piece.

In "Washer Woman", Scott Lambridis shows us some sort of outpost of men in some sort of war, the details are unimportant. Frank, Minks, Biggs, and Pliny are the last holdouts and the townspeople attack regularly. Minks drives the others crazy and it is from him that Frank, our narrator hears the myth of the washer woman, who washes the blood off of her husband's armor before he goes off to battle. The shiny armor attracts attention and he is killed. All this is related to the present situation in this well-told tale.

Maura McHugh's "Vic" is the story of a boy confined to his room who watches the world, and other kids, outside his window. We gradually begin to suspect something is wrong with Vic and there's a reason why he's kept inside. This was a subtle little tale but works very well.

"Because Your Blood is Darker Than Mine" by James Cooper centers on two children, Lily and Michael. They live with their single mother and a grandmother who never leaves her room. There's also "Uncle Pete", her mother's boyfriend, who's real scum. More is going on in this strange house and makes for a very unsettling story.

Last of all, "Eastlick" by Shannon Page is the story of a young girl, named Laura, who is becoming a woman. She's very interested in Dana, the boy next door. She tells him her name is Lara and that she is turning 14 on Halloween, even though she is actually turning 12. But her puberty is unleashing more than what is usual and this scares her.. and scares us as well! Page has contributed a very good coda for this issue.

Once again, we see that Black Static is an important part of the horror genre. You should subscribe!

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