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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Beware of Mr. Hands

Mr. Hands - Gary A. Braunbeck

Another outstanding offering by Braunbeck.  He continues to write the most innovative horror in the longer form while avoiding almost all the usual horror tropes and never repeating himself.  While not quite as good as Keepers or the magnificent In Silent Graves, he almost reaches them.

 

With a plot so twisted and clever that I'm not even going to try to describe it in detail, okay I will, sorta.  Mr. Hands is a sort of retribution machine for child abuse who is the progeny of the deceased mentally handicapped Ronald James Williamson who himself is more like a Dr. Kevorkian on wheels for those that are "hurting."  The whole tale has a framing story that makes it almost like one of Dunsany's Jorkens club tales.  Then there is Lucy Thompson who gets caught up in the web of both Ronnie and Mr. Hands.  This is less than half of it, you still have Thalidomide Man, the Reverend, Henry/Randy, little Sarah, and child abuser Timothy Beals. To say the plot was confusing at times would be an understatement, but Braunbeck brings it all together in an ending that Stephen King would kill for.

 

In all this Braunbeck really wants to talk about revenge, retribution (divine and otherwise), and justice; guilt and forgiveness and disguise it all as a really clever and literate horror story.

 

Included in the copy I have is an award winning novella:  Kiss of the Mudman, which in the typical fashion of the award winner isn't near as good as the novel here.  It won the International Horror Guild Award for novella.  Its inclusion here isn't totally random since some of the characters from Mr. Hands are back for an encore.

 

Go buy anything by Braunbeck, you won't be disappointed.