Expletive Deleted

Jen Jordan, Editor . Bleak House $24.95 (375p) ISBN 978-1-932557-55-8 ISBN 978-1-932557-56-5

No expletives have in fact been deleted from this nose-thumbing anthology of original stories (and a single reprint, Laura Lippman's mildly profane but clever “A Good **** Spoiled”). Jordan's selections prove beyond a doubt that expletives are a guarantee of neither success nor failure. Standouts include Ken Bruen's “Spit,” which proves that his flair for language is undiminished by copious profanity; Olen Steinhauer's grim “Hungarian Lessons”; Libby Fischer Hellmann's “The Jade Elephant,” a clever twist on a redemption tale; and Russel D. McLean's awesomely dark “Pedro Paul.” Unfortunately, they're overshadowed by disappointments like Nathan Singer's incoherent “The Killer Whispers and Prays... Or Like a Sledgehammer to a Ribcage” and Kevin Wignall's unconvincing “The Preacher.” The shock value of the language is minimal and the repetition monotonous, and somehow not a single entry manages to be both erotic and explicit. As a tribute to that most banned of all English words, this volume merits only a half-hearted (if not one-fingered) salute. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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Hardcover - 375 pages - 978-1-932557-55-8
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