Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review Two Degrees Closer to Hell by David Fingerman


I know that it's not recommended or customary to start with a conclusion, but for the good name of the stories and maverick as you know I am, I still do it: Two Degrees Closer to Hell is not a horror book according with the general sense, thus even those who doesn’t like the genre still can read it without problems. Many of the reasons that horror is not well received by some readers (such as the gross and full of gore scenes) are not present here. Even more, the horror classification is a tad exaggerated for some stories of this book. Yes, Two Degrees Closer to Hell is not a novel, but a collection of short stories written by the author David Fingerman, which, from my point of view, could be rather characterized as stories with an unexpected ending than simple horror. 

Another element that unites the stories, in addition to their denouement, is the irony. But do not fall into the trap of believing that these stories would be funny or would contain some humorous situation. No, the humor is a dark one, thoroughly filtered, a subtle humor that is sprinkled carefully between the lines, just as needed to give flavor to the stories. 

An interesting common aspect is how the author builds the action. Based on a framework or a trivial circumstance, a simple fact of everyday life, David Fingerman successfully develops, only in a few pages, a situation that didn’t ever cross your mind. Like a snowball running downhill, his stories accumulate in a very short time: high tension, unforeseen, bizarre, thrill and ... the list goes on.

The result that matters is the reaction you'll have at the end of each story. Albeit there are many stories, I guarantee you that your responses will be quite different and there will not be many stories that will awake in you the same feelings. This is exactly the beauty of this type of work: the Short Story. Without introductions, without detailed description and without great preparation, but only with what the author thinks is necessary to arouse in the reader a response. Response that can be expected or not even by the writer because each of us has a different baggage of knowledge or a higher or lower resistance to stimuli. What is important is the reader to resonate with the subject and its outcome. Beauty resides in diversity, isn’t it? It seems easy at first glance considering that everything is presented in a minimalist key, but it is wrong to have such an attitude regarding this type of works. For there are not many authors who have this ability, to condense the ideas into a creative space so limited, and we must recognize that David Fingerman abundantly possess this feature that, next to a concise and attractive style, is to the benefit of us, the readers. So don’t be reluctant and don’t consider the short stories as the poor relative of the novel. It doesn’t deserve this characterization and you will find a lot of such stories that will satisfy your reading pleasure more than many novels and in a much shorter time. So ... it’s a winning situation. 

The characters from Two Degrees Closer to Hell are more or less insipid people, with no trace of the heroes of the kind that you find in action novels and movies. You will love some of them or you'll hate others, you'll sympathize with them or you’ll be revolted by them, but one thing is for sure: they will not leave you indifferent. 

Given that one of the stories refers to a famous TV show, The Twilight Zone, I could end up with the opening narration of the series: 

„You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.” 

But ... because it seems that there is always a but, some stories in this volume could make you think not to The Twilight Zone but to another famous TV series: Tales From the Crypt. In other words, you will not have reason to be disappointed.

Happy Reading!
About the author:
During the summer months when the sun is shining and birds are singing, David is perfectly content to sit in his office, with blinds drawn, typing away at the computer. His favorite day of the year is the first day toward the end of summer that’s cool enough to pull a flannel shirt from the closet.

As a student at the University of Minnesota, David realized that if he switched his major from journalism to speech, he could graduate that quarter. It was a no-brainer. After 24 years of working in the court system, he walked away to write full time – another no-brainer.

Two Degrees Closer to Hell will be his second collection of short stories. He has also written three other novels.

David is married and lives in Minneapolis.


Tamara Bass said...

This sounds so good! Great reviw!

Unknown said...

Sounds good, added to my tbr list.

spongebob2285 said...

Love the book cover. Looking forward to reading it

Donna Milward said...

I love the reviews on this blog, and once again, they've nailed it.

Thanks for reviewing one of my favorites of the year.

Praf de stele said...

It sounds interesting and I like the cover! :)

Tamsroses said...

This sounds so good!

Piper said...

this sounds just like the types of books i really like to read.

Linda Romer said...

Hello David,Two Degrees closer to death sounds like a scary horror story. I would like to read your book. Thank you

Linda Romer said...

That would be two degrees closer to hell! Sorry lol

Kimberly Sue said...

Love the review...book sounds great!

Unknown said...

I love anything that even hints at horror OR terror so this is def going on my TBR list! Thanks for the heads up!

Sweet Treat Reading said...

Sounds interesting and awesome review

Joseph Hawkshaw said...

Love the cover looks very cool.

Unknown said...

Excerpt is great sounds good, thank you