SIN & ashes has just received the following review. To say I'm delighted and humbled falls way short of understatement.
SIN & Ashes, the new collection of short stories by Joe Pulver Sr., is a heady blend of rock ‘n roll, sex, death, and insanity. Inside its pages Pulver offers us a dance through the ribbons of his mind. And we accept, because there is something about his vision of a world, so dark and yet so vividly colorful, that is impossible to resist. Each word is delivered in that uniquely poetic style of his, giving us a glimpse into the seedy underbelly of urban decay and rural despair; daring us to consider if it is really human nature that has brought us so low or if otherworldly hands from Carcosa or R’lyeh might have played some role in our downfall.
He opens with Love Her Madly, then barrels ahead like a loosed bull through a land of serial murderers and revenge and cold, cold torture. The tension ebbs and flows as the pages turn; sometimes bitter and terse, other times graceful and melodic, but in every vibrant phrase you sense a hint of something dangerous and feral, just waiting to snare you. Like the slightly too-sweet smell of fruit just before it begins to rot, his words, even when they are breathlessly beautiful, teeter on the edge of lunacy and depravity.
It’s an effect that is hard to duplicate but that just makes it all the more impressive.
The overall style of SIN & Ashes brings to mind the prose of Poppy Z. Brite. The imagery in the fantasy tale Crow in Trick Town specifically conjures memories of her work in Wormwood and Drawing Blood. It isn’t everyone who can fabricate metaphors for sounds or textures or tastes and tell us how they look or hear. That’s the realm of poetry, not storytelling, yet Pulver blends the two disciplines with expert finesse. He has a talent of giving a single word a myriad of meanings, which makes it hard to return to our reality of concrete and glass, where everything is as it looks.
Unfortunately it IS only a book and it, like everything else that is physical, can only go on for so long. However, he leaves us on a high note with a delicious closing tapestry of rock n’ roll and Robert Chambers. Fans of both will be left with such an inspiring thrill of excitement that it will ensure the next installment Joe Pulver Sr. will be met with rabid book lust.