Apple of My Eye
Amy Grech

Two Backed Books
Trade $11.95
Review by Nickolas Cook

Comprised of thirteen stories, Apple Of My Eye is Amy Grech’s second book. One wishes that TwoBacked Books had taken a bit more care in editing the material, because too many of the book’s offerings have minor to major narrative and structural issues. Granted, it’s a novice’s effort, but with a little spit and polish, and an editorial eye to greatness, Grech and TwoBacked Books might have come away with something much better than this collection.

Unfortunately, most of the stories that make up the first half of the collection feel repetitive and amateurish. All the ‘killers’ use almost the same weapons, and all display a very similar ambiguity in characterization, as do her wispy framed protagonists. Too many characters ‘wink’, ‘nod’ or use other silent descriptives instead of allowing the spaces to just be: in short, Grech doesn’t seem comfortable with the silence and feels she must fill them with such physical and repetitive inanities. Grech seems to be shooting for a sophisticated sort of eroticism in some of the stories, but a lack of life experience makes them come off like silly teenage girl journal entries instead- the daydream of eroticism, not the reality. She tries for danger, but it feels like camp. When she tackles love, she does a much better job of conveying realistic emotions.

The collection does, however, begin to pick up towards the last half, giving us much more professional and polished selections-albeit still on the amateurish side. I found “Perishables,” “Damp Wind and Leaves” and “EV 2000” to be the best of the thirteen. Each of them displayed a style and voice that I’m sure is hiding within this inexperienced writer. If only they had been made manifest in the other stories as well, this would have been one hum-dinger of a collection.

As it is, it’s mediocre at best.

Still, on the strength of the above mentioned stories, I would give Amy Grech another read in the future, in the hopes that she will have improved her craft considerably.

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