DEATH is a Many-Splendored Thing
By William Quincy Belle
BG Ltd. Publishing
November 16, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
To start things off, I think William Quincy Belle deserves more credit than he gives himself for his writing. This collection of fourteen fictional stories is based on real events that Belle saw in the news, on the internet, or heard about from friends and family. I think that all of us at one time or other saw something on TV or read about it in the newspaper and said, “Wow…I wonder what the hell happened? How does somebody feel when they leap out of a window on the 48th floor of a building? WHY?”
That’s why we read speculative fiction, right? Not everybody understands the fascination that people like us have with dramatic deaths, but I get it. Obviously, so does Belle, because he grabs our interest with the first story in DEATH is a Many-Splendored Thing. It’s about a guy who jumps out of a window on the 48th floor of a big deal office building. Not only does Belle tell the story, but he does it from two viewpoints! First there’s the messy discovery of the suicide by the “worker bees,” who really keep places like this going. Then we get the viewpoint of the jumper himself. It is full of both reasons why and resignation that this is the only way to go.
As the author puts it, “Horror is not necessarily monsters and crazed serial killers, but rather our day-to-day lives and the sometimes overwhelming difficulties that we face.” That is the unvarnished truth, right there folks! It is also the reason for our business. People want incredible horror in nearly impossible scenarios on the big screen, little screens, and books because they want to escape. We need time away from the real shit in life that can cause a person to become unglued and possibly replicate the actions of some of the characters in DEATH is a Many-Splendored Thing.
There are fourteen stories in this slim, yet chock-full of good reading, volume and every one of them is a winner. We go from incredulous tragedies in car bumper presses to A Light Lunch with Helium. Some of the deaths are accidental, while some are quite clearly not. In Elaine Doesn’t Miss The Subway, a terrible cocktail of mental illness, drug dependency, and stupidity mixed with racism have tragic results. For me, that particular story hit close to home because the neighborhood I live in has a very high percentage of people just like Elaine. Damn! Is it any wonder that I dream of moving away?
I like this book a lot and I could keep talking about it, but that would spoil it for the rest of you. A big part of the fun in reading DEATH is a Many-Splendored Thing are the surprises. Like the one in The Hanging that will have you yelling “NO WAY!” right in the middle of a busy laundromat, just like I did. You might also find yourself laughing a few times in the book. That is perfectly normal and if anyone gives you the hairy eyeball, it’s because THEY are weird. Not us!
The verdict? DEATH is a Many-Splendored Thing is an absolutely awesome collection of short stories that you’ll really enjoy reading! I absolutely dig it! FIVE STARS! Hurry up and go get it before you are the next person in line to make your “final exit.” Oh, and if you see the lady with the pink and blue curlers on her head, could you tell her that dryer number five is done? Thanks! I really need to get out of here!