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You Shall Never Know Security

You Shall Never Know Security - J.R.  Hamantaschen When I was in college, I worked nights as a dispatcher for a taxi company. Occasionally drivers, the mechanic or the owner might drop in for various reasons (certainly not to talk with me), but for the most part, it was me alone for 6-8 hours in an office within a dark, cavernous garage in a not-very-good part of town. I’ll be honest: the place sometimes creeped me out. There would be noises like hot cars doing that clicking thing as they cooled down, or ventilator fans turning on and off, the refrigerator in the break area turning on and off, probably things like rats and cats that inhabited the spaces. Then there were outside noises- cars driving by, occasional sirens, gunfire on more than one occasion. None of it was terrifying, and some nights it didn’t bother me at all, but sometimes it was a bit unsettling... just a low-level simmering unease. If I got to thinking about it, I could imagine there was some person or thing in the garage there with me, waiting for the moment of perfect vulnerability when it could... well, I don’t know... “get” me. Kill me, I guess. Maybe eat me. More likely rob me. This is the kind of horror I respond to. The slow-boil creepiness of the unknown, with a touch of hyper-awareness at my own vulnerability, and a sense that my surroundings are slightly hostile. I think most of Stephen King’s stuff is not remotely scary, but The Shining? Man… being trapped alone in a giant snowbound hotel? That scares the hell out of me… and that’s even without a psychopathic Jack Nicholson running around with his axe! You Shall Never Know Security is very good at creating this particular flavor of horror. There are no stories about knife-wielding lunatics, or zombie hordes, or giant sharks, but there are stories about sentient alien intelligences- possibly predatory, definitely not benevolent. Where do they come from? Outer space? Hell? Some alternate dimension? Some supernatural portal? We don't know. We know they come to kill or inhabit Earthlings, to read our thoughts, to ruin our wedding receptions and our private time on the toilet. There are stories that leave you uncertain whether the narrator was insane, or whether something supernatural just happened. There were two stories that made my wife ask me “Why are you making that face?” That is an extremely good sign for a horror book. Sure, horror is very subjective; what punches my buttons may not punch yours, but if you glean from the first two paragraphs that some of your buttons might be the same as some of my buttons, then I will tell you that these are some very, very good stories.I notice some of the other reviews have a bone to pick with the writing and style. I agree that there are a lot of proofreading errors, and more than a few awkward word choices. It was rough enough around the edges for me to knock a star off, and I don't consider myself a "stickler". On the other hand, the narrative is fluid. It reads like Lovecraft told by dark, slightly Goth streetwise present-day twentysomethings, instead of ponderous academics of the 1930’s. Kind of an H.P. Lovecraft meets Caris O'Malley meets Christy Leigh Stewart... and that's some pretty disturbing stuff right there. Overall, J.R. Hamantaschen strikes me as a slightly unpolished new author with a hell of an imagination. I think if he keeps at his craft, he’s going to write some brilliant, crazy shit that will really fuck us all up.