Brazen Bull, by Elizabeth Massie, is the seventh deluxe chapbook to be released by White Noise Press.
There. I really shouldn't have to type another word. Anyone that has seen one of the chapbooks that Keith Minnion has published with his White Noise Press knows how beautiful they are. How they are crafted with care, with gorgeous art and high quality paper. White Noise also showcases the cream of the crop of talent that the horror fiction field has to offer. What collector would dream of passing one up?
And Brazen Bull is by Elizabeth Massie. Anything by Massie is an immediate mandatory purchase for me.
That's not enough?
Okay. I'll have to keep this brief, because Brazen Bull is a short story and to give much away would be a crime. It deals with urban despair, paranoia and xenophobia. A down-on-his-luck father and husband's life is eroding. Having lost his position of employment by a corporate takeover, he feels victimized and hostile. His family both fear him and fear for him. He is bitter, verbally abusive and quite convinced that a strange family that is new to the neighborhood are some sort of cultists. He is a human pressure cooker, ready to explode at any time.
I've had the pleasure of Elizabeth Massie's acquaintance on several occasions and she's a puzzle. Here is this woman, who looks like the slightly hippyish country elementary schoolteacher that you might have had half a crush on in third grade. She is unfailingly polite and funny and just about the nicest person you're liable to meet at a horror convention. Yet there is something nasty behind that smiling face. Elizabeth Massie's pen has created some of the darkest and most disturbing fiction I've ever read. Her novels are outstanding, but I believe that I like her short stories even more. All of them pack a hell of a punch, but I think my favorite is called What Happened When Mosby Paulson Had Her Painting Reproduced on the Cover of the Phone Book. This story skillfully shows the reader human cruelty, yet it does so with acute emotion and empathy.
The same can be said about Brazen Bull. While one character may be unpleasant, Beth us careful to show a sympathetic light on his personality. And while others may seen strange or even repulsive, that may only be in the eyes of the observers.
White Noise isn't shipping Brazen Bull yet, so I don't know what the price will be. However, Keith has so far kept them at around ten dollars, which is a steal for the kind of beautiful product he delivers. While some out there appear to be intent on charing ever-increasing prices for their publications, White Noise Press seems determined to provide quality at prices that are affordable for just about anyone. And Brazen Bull is one of the best that he has given us to date.
Brazen Bull will be published in only 150 copies. Each will be signed by the author as well as the illustrator, who happens to be the same individual as the publisher. The first fifty customers will receive a free art print that will also be signed by Beth Massie and Keith Minnion. Keep an eye on the White Noise website and don't miss out on it.