Cardboard Wall Empire
April 18, 2021
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis
Hello dear readers, it’s your old pal Skull getting back to you with the full review of Rebecca Gransden’s Creepy Sheen. I don’t want to put the hearse before the motorcade but, let me just say that lovers of speculative fiction are in for a real treat when they dive between the pages of this purple covered beauty! So, with further ado, let’s begin…
To those who were kind enough to read my previous post about Creepy Sheen, thank you! Here is your reward/answer to my riddle about the connection arcade crane machines and babies have to the end of the world. It’s in “Arcady”, a great example of Gransden’s work. She combines the known and comfortable with the unknown in a shocking way that keeps you turning pages. Missy Jackson is the typical teenage arcade rat. She plays the games until all her money is gone. Unfortunately, it’s just not her day to be a winner and that bad luck extends to using the arcade’s rest room. She’s locked in by a malfunctioning stall door and ends up falling asleep in the none too deluxe surroundings. Upon waking, it becomes clear through many of Missy’s observations that something is very wrong in her corner of the world. One of the indicators of that is a crying baby trapped inside the crane game with all the stuffed toys. Not to mention the creepy guys with the trucks, yikes! “Arcady” is a great story that will chill your blood.
“Liquid Crystal” is a cool piece about a guy who figured out how to take technology way too far, resulting in a prison life sentence. While “Hell Alley” shows us a dystopian future where Myra the city rat collector has a run in with some guys who are using the rats to create a super drug. And let’s not forget “The Future Is White” which has a ghostly Twilight Zone meets Ray Bradbury vibe presented in a script format. All of which brings us to the delightfully diseased diamond of the bunch…
Skull’s favorite story in all of Rebecca Gransden’s Creepy Sheen is “Night Drive Drifter In A Bad Dream.” This tale is smokin’ and I mean that literally! At the core of it is a man and a fast car always travelling at night and catching what little rest they can during daylight hours. Emilio takes on a unique job from his “friend” Dexter because of the huge payout and the chance to get out of a crummy town where he’s stuck in one dead end job after another. I mean, the dude is fighting bums for a package of stale rolls. Not exactly living the high life! But its nowhere as easy as Dexter makes it sound. After some truly creepy scenes, Emilio decides to make a run for it, only to find that the thing chasing him is tireless. So instead of jetting off to some exotic location with his loot from the job, Emilio is spending his money in grungy motels and gas station snack bars. But tonight seems a little different, who knows what’s up ahead? Smart investors make a bid for TV rights, now!
Overall, Damaged Skull Reviewer gives Creepy Sheen 5 STARS and a place on “The Wall of Fame”! The concept behind the book is echoes of transmissions sent into outer space during the 1980’s and indeed, these stories are like finding some lost episodes of the Twilight Zone or unfinished work from your favorite late science fiction writer after earth is just a memory. Rebecca Gransden writes like she is multiple authors and stretches simple scenes into terrifying scarescapes. Get this one, you won’t regret it!
Also, before I return to my nice dark cave, let me mention that Cardboard Wall Empire has many titles on offer including more from Rebecca Gransden, Leo X. Robertson, and others. Tell them Skull sent you!