John Claude Smith never ceases to amaze, delight and shock me as he pushes the limits of both his ingenuity and his ability to see the world through unique eyes. Autumn in the Abyss, John Claude Smith's newest collection of dark stories, is a perfect example. I found each of the five stories compelling and entertaining though in ways truly as unique as the stories themselves.
The second story, Broken Teacup, as despicably immoral as the main character and his amoral buddy were, I was compelled to keep reading simply because I wanted to see what happened next. Again, though I felt the need to shower my mind afterward, there was a sense of justice in the end. So, on some level, I did actually find that story strangely entertaining.
The third story, La Mia Immortalita, about an artist obsessed with his own immortality reminded me of something you might see on the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. Truly an interesting and enjoyable piece.
By far, my favorite story with the fourth, Becoming Human. The main character, Detective Roberto "Bobby" Vera, was easy to relate to simply because he was so real, which is ironic given the title of the story.
As for the fifth and final story, Where the Light Won't Find You, is a fitting way to conclude the collection. The main character, angry twenty-something Derek Jenner, reminds us of how our self-inflated egos can push us to make decisions with sometimes deadly consequences.
Having been a fan of John Claude Smith's writing for a while now, Autumn in the Abyss is a great collection to have on my shelf, but his other collection, The Dark is Light Enough for Me is still my favorite.