Postcards from the Apocalypse
When it comes to plot twists, short stories definitely deliver. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last novel that surprised me with a plot twist, but I can remember a lot of short story collections and anthologies brimming with plot twist-heavy stories. Postcards from the Apocalypse, a short story collection by Allan Leverone, contains unreliable narrators, terrible deaths, robbery, women as dangerous as they are beautiful, fast cars, horrific crashes, and betrayal.
In his introduction, Leverone promised readers horror, noir, crime, and the 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 left with a sense of dread almost every time.
My favorite plot twists happened in ‘Dance Hall Drug’ and ‘The Bridal Veil.’ The plot twist in ‘The Bridal Veil’ got a smile out of me. It starts off stereotypically, almost as if Leverone wanted readers accustomed to the horror genre to think,”Really?” But the story itself is a wonderful trap I loved being pushed into. However, ‘Dance Hall Drug’ left me feeling in awe at what I’d just read, unable to do anything but feel sad and uneasy. Though I read that story months ago, I still find myself randomly thinking about the plot twist in ‘Dance Hall Drug.’
-Tiffany T. Cole