Sunday, July 15, 2012

THE DEMON OF BLACKWATER SWAMP, by Russ Parkhurst

"Morning blew into the town of Blackwater like a sleepy bat."

On occasion I like to download a short story from Amazon onto my PC. Today I read Russ Parkhurst's great short tale, The Demon of Blackwater Swamp. This is another fine example of the art of telling a short story, something I find almost daunting at times, because my tales usually end up in the 20-K word and more ballpark.

This is one such a fun read, a well-written story that would make H.P. Lovecraft smile.
Parkhurst sets his tale in the small southern town of Blackwater, where a mysterious creature has been enjoying itself, courtesy of the townsfolk, and it's up to Sheriff Truman Grimes to get to the bottom of it. This is the kind of t stuff Lovecraft would have written, if he had been interested in writing stories that had a Southern sensibility, a Southern sense of humor, human interaction, interesting characters, and dialog that crackles with lines like: "He's got the balls of a Brahma bull and the common sense of a tick." or "All's hell that ends hell." I love the names of Parkhurst's characters, too: Tunk Scruggs, Loogie Belcher, and Cadge Carter, to name a few. Back in the day,this would have been a great little Roger Corman/American International film like Attack of the Giant Leeches--and I mean that in a good way. It would have also been a nice entry in Universal's library of monster flicks, as directed by Jack Arnold. Heck, it would make a good little film today, too. Parkhurst hits every note perfectly, and there isn't a sign of lazy writing to be found. There are more Easter Eggs here than the Easter Bunny's warehouse and it's fun to crack them open. This story is an ode to Lovecraft, and will make you smile with its subtle taste of "The Andy Griffith Show" in its cast of wonderful characters. It's great fun. Check it out on Amazon.