Review of "Block" by Mike Dennis
From the other side of the human condition comes this collection of noir tales by Mike Dennis.
1. FULLY LOADED
It's 1984 and Biloxi, Mississippi has seen better days. Sherry Lamar, used car saleswoman extraordinaire, is feeling the pinch. Then one day, a stranger walks onto her small car lot and ushers her into a world of steamy sex and murder.
2. THE DEVIL DRIVES A BIG MERCEDES A seven-year-old boy is playing with his two younger sisters when a minor accident occurs. One of the sisters is to blame, but she blames the boy and their mother believes her, punishing the boy. This starts him on a downward spiral into self-doubt and later, depravity, that will last his entire life.
3. BLOCK A famous crime fiction novelist thinks the current book she's working on will revive her sagging fortunes. Halfway through it, however, she develops writer's block and is unable to continue her story, until a mysterious early-morning phone caller claims to have the answers.
This was a really, really well-written story. It grabbed me from the start and I got sucked into the slightly twisted psyche of a crime fiction author. But the spell cast by the story was broken for me during the last half as the plot suddenly started to follow twists and turns identical to that of the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Perhaps this is just coincidence on the part of the author.
Taken by itself, this is an excellent read with a hint of spine-chilling creepiness. I loved the way the protagonist was developed and explored. I also found the point of view changes between the story she was writing and the author herself to be creative and interesting.
This is definitely a story worth looking into. However, if you are a movie buff, you may feel like you've been told this tale before.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez