Title: Jagged Edges & Moving Parts
Author: Pete Mesling
Release date: June 3rd, 2020
I’ve mentioned previously that I’m burned out on collections and anthologies. This is at all no fault of any author or editors, it’s the simple fact that I’ve read a boat load of both this year and reading and reviewing collections and anthologies are incredibly taxing. You take notes, rate each story, try and find interconnected characters or themes – it all adds up to mental exhaustion.
But, a part of me simply can’t stop reading them. Each short story is a new and exciting world. A break from longer reads. A brief glimpse into a horrific painting before being ripped away at the conclusion.
When Pete Mesling emailed me, I was literally updating my site to say I was closed for review requests. I’m trying to play catch up and get a few reads for enjoyment done, but Pete was very kind and considerate in his email and reply back. I’ve seen his name on TOC’s previously and combining the blurbs he’d picked up for this collection as well as the stunning cover art by Mr. Kealan Patrick Burke, I decided to fit it in.
What I liked: Pete Mesling can write. Wow. ‘Jagged Edges & Moving Parts’ is comprised of 27 short stories that cover a wide variety of themes and genres. With a collection featuring that many stories, it was refreshing that they were all fairly short in page count. I found each story ripped along and Mesling attacked each world with confidence.
With this many stories, it was tough to narrow down my favorites, so I’ll highlight three.
‘Barbicide’ was a really simply, straightforward story of revenge. A man heads to his Barber to get his haircut. He is going there to confront the man about a transgression. Mesling doesn’t hold back at all. Succinct in its vengeance.
‘The Tree Mumbles.’ Wowsa. I would say this was my favorite story in the collection. Set in Seattle, people begin to notice odd figures showing up surrounding the city, staring and speaking to the trees. I can’t say much more about this unique take on an apocalyptic/pandemic style story, just that I would love to see this expanded, or better yet, made into a movie.
‘Microphasia.’ I don’t even know how to describe this one. Beautifully poetic without being a poem. Three to four lines of a quick look at a scene, intertwined with the other lines following. This was a fascinating story near the end.
What I didn’t like: While I enjoyed that each story was shorter, I wished some of the stories were not so short, which in turn would maybe limit the volume of stories included. It’s a minor thing for me and granted, a lot of that may be directly related to my personal reading burnout, but even making one or two of them novellas would have been magical.
Why you should buy it: If you love collections or discovering a new-to-you author, Pete Mesling’s ‘Jagged Edges & Moving Parts’ would be a really fine addition to your book shelf. The stories that he’s crafted here are all really engaging and Mesling has no problem going from making the reader cry to making the reader leave a light on.
Fantastic work, and I’m glad I took this one on.
One thought on “Book Review: Jagged Edges & Moving Parts by Pete Mesling”
Good review! Microphasia in particular sounds interesting. I may have to pick this one up. I tend to like longer fictin better, but I just read an ARC of Loren Rhoads’ Unsafe Words collection . . . dark and disturbing stories with drop-the-mike endings.
LikeLiked by 2 people