Webley .45 and Other Short Stories by R.K. Simpson
RaeleighReads rating: 3 out of 5 coffee cups
“Within the confines of the attic, the report had a force of its own. In that first nano-second, when the minutest differences in their positions might have changed the outcome, when Ellie’s fingers were beginning their reflexive release of the weapon, a wall of sound hit her and she began to fall.”
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As you may know, I rarely read or review collections of short stories. While I enjoy reading them, usually, they are difficult to review. Should I give you a snapshot of the overall collection, should I focus on each story (omg that would take forever — I’m long-winded as it is), or should I suddenly break away from my typical review style and employ the second person? Apparently I’ve chosen option C for this review. Sorry readers.
Now, in all seriousness, this is a nice collection of stories. We begin with a little vignette of family life derailed by a terrible accident involving a gun, and we end with another vignette of family life derailed by malicious human contact and brought to justice with an act involving a gun. So, from an organizational standpoint, these are nice bookend pieces that make this feel like a collection, rather than a smattering of random short stories. I also really appreciated the piece of flash fiction that was worked in toward the end. Well done, Mr. Simpson.
Simpson’s writing style is an interesting mix of densely crafted, descriptive sentences and incredibly believable dialogue. I felt like I had been transported back to the 1950s for most of these stories — not just from the stories’ settings but from Simpson’s old-school word choice and syntax. I don’t say that disparagingly. His style really worked for me for these particular stories.
Structure? Check! Style? Mk, check. Subject matter? Yeesh! Simpson really digs in to some heavy stuff here. Gun related deaths, molestation, depression — all the nitty gritty of human life can be found in these pages. Reading stories like these, one after another, it really makes you hope that the author just has a crazy imagination and that they haven’t experienced these things first hand. If they have…my goodness, I hope the writing of it was cathartic.
Now, this collection isn’t all doom and gloom. There are also some really nice moments where we can see the goodness in human life. It’s almost always in the small things. A loved one picking up the slack when someone is losing their shish or allowing a significant other the space they need to deal with something in the way that they need to deal with that something. In the unspoken things, the actions, we can see how human affection, in its myriad of manifestations, can make it all worthwhile.
Overall, a good collection of stories. I would recommend it to people who like to read about believable familial situations and those who enjoy a little dose of nostalgia with their morning tea.
Other thoughts you might be interested in:
“Each one is about diverse life, they are full of surprises and revelations. So put on your seatbelt, hold on and get ready for a trip you won’t forget.“– Marjorie on Goodreads