51-JDHlKZAL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer
J.R. Hamantaschen
West Pigeon Press
September 9, 2015
Reviewed by Elaine Pascale

Hamantaschen is a wonderful writer. And I am not saying this simply because one of the stories in With a Voice… contains an author who kills a Goodreads reviewer (a story titled “Soon Enough This Will Essentially Be a True Story”), nor am I saying this because this particular author knows my home address since he mailed me a copy of his book. I am saying this because he really is a very skilled writer.

A large part of the skill is related to the fact that the supernatural elements are handled in such a way that a reader doesn’t question them. The stories in this collection revolve around ordinary people holding ordinary jobs and doing things that most of us do every day. Then, there is a very bizarre twist, but Hamantaschen (and I am not going to make fun of his name or complain about having to type it like other reviewers) deftly weaves the twist into the ordinary in such a way that it feels very…at home.

There is a strong Lovecraft influence to the writing; I was also reminded of Clive Barker (the early years). My favorite stories from this collection include “The Gulf of Responsibility,” “I’m a good person, I mean well and I deserve better,” and “It’s not the feelings of anxiety; It’s one constant feeling: anxiety.” I also really enjoyed the story I mentioned earlier (“Soon Enough…”) and it completely creeped me out. “Soon Enough…” was a nice tip of the hat to conventional horror, sandwiched in the middle of dark fantasy.

When I get a break from other projects, I am going to read Hamantaschen’s first collection, You Shall Never Know Security. He has piqued my interest and I hope to read more from him beyond the two collections. I recommend this With a Voice… without hesitation.

About Elaine Pascale

Elaine Pascale had been writing her entire life. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, son and daughter. Her writing has been published in several magazines and anthologies. She is the author of Blood Lights, and If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the Fruit. Elaine enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate, and collecting cats.