Book Review: Everyone Loves Clowns by Thomas Cranham

This collection of stories (and illustrations by various artists) has potential but could do with some solid editing. Admittedly, I was reading on my computer, so some of the formatting problems might not appear in a hard copy of the book. But there are some punctuation issues, some places where the tenses change . . . Little things that an old hand like me find difficult to overlook. The errors pull me out of the stories.

And a tendency toward a love of too many typefaces, which is often taken as the sign of an amateur. (I know because I did the same thing when I was starting out and have learned enough since to cringe when faced with the flowery fonts of my older works.) Rule of thumb: Choose ONE title typeface and stick with it throughout. I know! There are so many good ones it's difficult to choose! But choose one must.

The anthology itself is squarely set in the horror genre and each tale takes place in the town of Matlock (England). And the stories themselves are often good ideas that need a bit more work. Tightening here and there, for example. I really enjoyed "The Ghost of Bone Mill Road and the Infinite Man"—which included some lovely photographs—but felt there wasn't enough distinction between the voices of the two letter writers, and also found the letters to be too story-like and not, well, like real letters.

The idea behind "Oh, to Be Alive," is again a cute one—a zombie trying to make a case for his kind and their rights.

Sort of a hit-and-miss mixture here.  Reading Everyone Loves Clowns (and even the title feels a bit generic) gave me the sense I was seeing the dawning of a potentially strong writing talent. But it's still clearly in the early stages. I hope Cranham keeps at it and continues to develop his craft.

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