Monday, March 14, 2011

A Gnome Problem / Michael Crane

Genre: Comedic Fiction

Approximate word count: 8-8,500 words

Availability Kindle: YES   Nook: NO   DTB: NO


A graduate of Columbia College Chicago in Fiction Writing, Michael Crane’s specialty is the short story. Often these are what Crane describes as “slice of life.” Stories about real people (or at least seemingly real) with the kinds of issues real people have. His short story collection, In Decline
, reviewed here about a month ago was of this type. He’s also contributed these type stories to a few anthologies.

Recently he’s also found another niche. I’ll call it dark humor. Look at them as a bit scary and slightly whacky nightmares come to life. First, two short collections of drabbles (flash fiction of exactly 100 words each) in Lessons I and the sequel, Lessons II. (Look here for reviews of these sometime in the future.) This latest release which sneaks into novelette length (several hundred words too long to be classified a short story) is more of this dark humor.


Pat’s having a bad day. Last night he broke up with his girlfriend, maybe for the last time. Now his buddy Spencer calls claiming he’s being attacked by gnomes. Obviously, Spencer has a problem. Is it drugs? Has he gone off the deep end? Regardless of the reason, Pat is a good friend - so he drags himself out of bed, downs a Red Bull to wake up, and heads over to Spencer’s house to help.


While I love Michael Crane’s “slice of life” stories, his dark humor pieces are oodles of fun. The premise seems ridiculous on its face. What could be more innocent than a little garden gnome? With the current craze for the paranormal in books, who is to say that garden gnomes coming to life are any less likely than werewolves or glittery vampires showing up on your doorstep?

It’s this tension between what Pat knows has to be true, gnomes don’t come to life - compared to what Spencer and eventually Pat are experiencing, that make story so fun. What is going on? Is this a bad, yet realistic dream? How will it be resolved? It is all just a little twisted and demented, perfect for a fast, fun read. You’ll never look at gnomes the same.


If you’re extremely sensitive to language, you’ll find a handful or two of words you might not like. Fucking Gnomes can bring that out in a guy.

Format/Typo Issues:

As a beta reader I received a pre-publication version of the book and cannot evaluate formatting and typos of the final release version. The author was notified of all typos I found and is believed to have fixed them prior to release.

Rating: **** Four stars


Jessica said...

This looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for the review on a work I probably wouldn't have found otherwise!

Jaime said...

Having a friend with a love for random things gnome-esque and an adoration of dark humor, I am SO pleased to have found this review! I'll be gifting this to her via Kindle ASAP!