Does telling the reader what kind of story “Road Dogs” is spoil the surprise of discovering what kind of story it is? Would knowing up front give a different expectation and reading experience than if one did not know?
I think it might, so with that tease, go read “Road Dogs” from Norman Partridge. The story is up over at Subterranean and is well worth checking out.
To give a brief overview, a man who is estranged from his sister returns home when he is notified that his sister was murdered. Gary believes that his sister was killed by her boyfriend Kale. The police claim it was an accident. Gary’s ex-girlfriend doesn’t want him to get involved and would rather he let the police handle it. But Gary can’t, because he knows it was Kale.
That’s the set up. What Norman Partridge does with “Road Dogs” is not to be missed. Top to bottom, the entire story has an edge to it, the characters an air of hardness, of violence in the past and promised for the future. It’s a setting that you would not want to walk into, except from the safety of being on the other side of the page. Everyone else is at risk.
There is set up, an "oh shit" moment, and then violence.
It is dark and it is dangerous and it is good.
Which, having read his World Fantasy Award nominated Dark Harvest, is exactly what one would expect from Norman Partridge.