‘What a great idea! Create a particular character—Roman Dalton, ex-cop, current P.I., current werewolf… and let him go on the mean streets. Invite some of the best noir writers on the planet to ride this horse… Paul D. Brazill is the guy who’s doing more than almost anyone in energizing the noir genre and this is an innovative and important step in what looks to be a massive B12 shot.
The first story, Paul D. Brazill’s title story of this amazing collection, “Drunk on the Moon” is a veritable feast of language flavours, just as you always expect and always get from the Godfather of Noir. Brazill puts the story of ex-cop-cum-detective-cum-werewolf Roman Dalton into motion in a battle with other werewolves, zombies and human criminals.
Allan Leverone then takes comes through brilliantly, taking the ball quarterback Brazill hands off to him and running with it like a star fullback. Enter a mysterious federal agent—Agent Darke (aptly named) and the complications begin to cram through the doorway as nonstop action and mayhem erupt in a clash of werewolves and criminals.
Next B R Stateham delivers the philosophical side of Dalton—he’s his own “Death Squad” in ridding the world of those who don’t contribute to the common good by his choice of victims when in his werewolf state, and Stateham also creates the element of sex, always a good thing in a story. Stateham delivers one image I wasn’t expecting of Dalton—he’s a quiche eater… I’m still trying to reconcile that with his werewolf/tough cop persona…
The next story up, “It’s a Curse” by K. A. Laity is a writer’s delight. Like Brazill, Laity knocks your socks off with the language and also with the dialog. She also delivers a sex scene that leaves the reader alternately grimacing in pain and fantasizing about rough sex. Really rough sex… It’s the dialog that grabs you more than anything. Brilliant.
John Donald Carlucci enters next with his take on Dalton in a tale titled “Silver Tears.” Carlucci gets my nod for the best opening sentence of any of the stories, beginning with: “Jesus, I think I stepped on an ear,” I said after nearly slipping and falling as I entered the taped-off crime scene. It instantly transported me into the story and I wasn’t disappointed. You won’t be either. Not to give away the story, but it involves a pervert that wants Dalton to bite him so he can become a vampire, and Dalton accommodates him… but with a twist. You don’t want to miss the twist!
Julia Madeleine with her offering, “Fear the Night,” gets Dalton out of England and over to Quebec,Canada where he has a go with zombie strippers. If anyone doubts the veracity of zombie strippers, don’t. I’ve been to Quebec and it’s true.
Jason Michel weighs in with “Back to Nature” where Dalton takes a vacation in the woods with his friend Duffy the bartender. This was a delightful experience and the best way I can describe it is it’s a stream-of-conscious cinematic experience that reads like poetry.
And then… Richard Godwin with his version of Roman Dalton the werewolf he’s titled, “Getting High on Daisy..” All I can say about this one is this. WOW. This one was my favourite. Just brilliant writing. Every writer in this collection is the very best of writers working today. But, Godwin went somewhere else with this one. A place very few of us are ever privileged to reach. This one was Jungian in the best sense as in the night dream level of story-telling. This one by itself is worth the price of the entire collection.
And, just when I thought nothing could match Godwin’s story, I ran smack into Katherine Tomlinson’s “A Fire in the Blood.” Here’s what I have to say about her tale. Read it. I wasn’t familiar with her work before, but this story convinced me to run out and buy every word of hers that’s for sale. It’s that frickin’ good! Good writing should provide surprises and believe me—this one did! On every page. Before I read “A Fire in the Blood” I’d conferred the title of “best story in the collection” to Godwin. This one doesn’t supplant his, but it’s the co-winner, imo.
And then we come to the finale, Brazill’s “Before the Moon Falls” his prequel to the collection. Brilliant. Just like the collection itself. I cannot remember a more consistently great collection of stories like this. “Drunk on the Moon” is going to end up on a lot of “Best of” lists at the end of the year. An awful lot of those lists… It’s already on mine.
Once you read it, I wager it’ll be on yours.’