A blog post on a Wednesday?! Yes, I’ve teamed up with Blackthorn Book Tours once more to review this twisted collection by Andy Rausch. Enjoy!
Crazy Ass Stories For Crazy Ass People by Andy Rausch
Andy Rausch is a name I’m familiar with. He’s the author of over thirty books, as well as a screenwriter, a film journalist, and more. So when Blackthorn Book Tours presented the option of reviewing his latest collection Crazy Ass Stories for Crazy Ass People, I jumped at the chance.
Here are twenty-one short stories and a novella, written in a slew of genres: horror, crime, comedy, western. All linked together by the fact that they are “crazy-assed” (Rausch’s descriptor, not mine). For my bizarro readers out there, you’ll find more than enough peculiarity as the author dips back and forth across the border of bizarro-adjacent.
I know I label a lot of books on this blog as “fun,” but Crazy Ass Stories is an absolute blast. Rausch’s engaging voice ensures you won’t be bored for a second, his sentences saturated with a wry sense of humor. Many stories read as if they’re straight from the Twilight Zone, but with less politics and more thrills.
With dialogue-centric narration, Rausch covers huge swaths of information in casual conversation that is anything but forced. Not an info dump in sight. He takes real people and characters from literature and inserts them into his own twisted scenarios, producing incredible results. At the same time, death plays a prominent part throughout the collection, sometimes shocking, sometimes humorous, often both.
Some stories shine above others. In “Sandwich Bitch” a factory worker hopes to resolve a lunchroom kerfuffle by poisoning the sandwich being stolen. This is an example of Rausch’s gift of making a murderer into a sympathetic protagonist, a technique he uses throughout the collection to stunning success.
“It’ll Make You Feel Better” shows us a man guilty about his brother’s passing. To assuage this, his therapist suggests he write an email to his deceased brother … only to have him respond. It was one of the most powerful stories in the collection, with an emotional impact that resonated within me.
Both “The Day Fat Terry Brought Dead Hitler to Iowa” and “Snow White and the Seven Bastards” are full on bizarro. The former is a hilarious parody of Neo-Nazi culture in America, while “Snow White” gives us a dark, modern version of the classic fairytale about a white-trash Snow White and her lascivious past.
The collection concludes with a novella entitled “Wyatt Earp and the Devil Incarnate.” It starts out as the classic tale of the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday in Tombstone, but soon morphs into a mystery as they search for a serial killer murdering prostitutes. While I normally avoid westerns like the plague, Rausch’s engaging storytelling had me riveted, even if it was a little predictable.
Of course, not every story was a success. In “Rachel in the Moonlight,” a widower buys a sex doll identical to his deceased wife. Though meant to be heartbreaking, this dark story fell flat for me. “Gypsy’s Curse” was the low point of the collection. It wasn’t much more than a description of bikers fighting zombies on a boat—predictable and uninteresting.
Who should read this book? It has a wide potential audience as it ventures in so many directions. I imagine any fan of horror, crime, and/or bizarro would enjoy it. But really anyone who likes short, fast, addicting stories will gain something from this collection.
You can find Crazy Ass Stories For Crazy Ass People on Amazon here.
Or at your local independent bookstore here.