Urban Decay (US) is an entertaining collection of stories based around a community on its knees that’s unlikely to be getting up any time soon.
There’s a nice variety here, both in terms of length and material. They range from vignettes that hit the spot all the way up to a novelette that allows for more fleshing out of plot and character. The situations shift from boxing rings, council estates, bars, gyms, fly-tipping spots, abandoned shops and street corners.
Thorn is rather skilled at introducing twists where they’re unexpected. A story moves in one direction and then dashes off at a right angle. This element means you can never be sure where you’ll be taken and that you’ll find satisfaction when you come to the end of the road.
I like the way this collection is layered. There are cold and brutal truths played out on these pages, there’s humour and tension and there are genuine sentimental moments that will either warm the heart or are likely to make you feel grateful for what you’ve got.
Hard to pick a favourite, but I might go with the opener, Loathe Thy Neighbour. It sets things up perfectly. A hard man returns home to find his mum is upset with recent happenings in her neighbourhood. The old sense of community is being eradicated and someone needs to step in and restore some balance. In this case, the arms of justice go further than you might foresee. Great stuff.
Well worth checking out.