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Unreliable narrators, terrible deaths, robbery, women as dangerous as they are beautiful, fast cars, horrific crashes, and betrayal. Whether the story is about a kid with telepathic powers or a quarantined city or a guy who won’t stay dead, at least one of those seven elements above plays a part. Postcards from the Apocalypse by Allan Leverone, is a collection of seventeen short stories that definitely delivers.
In his introduction, Leverone promised readers horror, noir, crime, and fantastical. He promised readers that a character who does wrong will certainly get wronged in return and, if that doesn’t happen, there will be a surprise plot twist. Leverone is a guy who can keep a promise.
I’m so accustomed to horror and crime fiction that it generally takes me five minutes or less to see where a story is going and what the ‘twist’ will be. That didn’t happen as much with these stories. I found myself pleasantly surprised and pleasantly taken aback and left with a sense of dread almost every time.
I put stars next to short stories I particularly liked. Out of the seventeen, eight really stuck with me on a deeper level. ‘Devotion’ enthusiastically got two stars before I even finished reading it. Though I figured out the twist halfway through, it was in such a way that made me smile in fascination at the morbidity of it. I instantly thought of Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Bridal Veil’ also got a smile out of me. It starts off stereotypically, almost as if Leverone wanted readers to think,”Really?” But it’s a wonderful trap I loved falling into.
‘Fallout,’ ‘Independence Day,’ ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ and ‘Dance Hall Drug’ stuck with me because of their beauty – beauty in language, emotional depth, and plot. They were the three stories that made me sit in awe at what I’d just read, unable to do anything but feel sad and uneasy. In contrast, ‘The Road to Olathe,’ ‘Uncle Brick and Jimmy Kills,’ and ‘Uncle Brick and the Little Devilz’ had a more lighthearted feel to them that made me smile a lot.
The small introductions before each short story was a very nice addition. I loved learning where the ideas came from and where they were published. By the end of this collection, I found myself very inspired by his successes in publishing and competitions, and I also realized something…
Allan Leverone won my admiration very early on, and he’s an author who writes stories well worth keeping up with.