Michael Kazepis’ Gravity (Broken River Books) is a great collection of short stories; it is not a crime fiction book. I picked it up as J David Osborne, the publisher of Broken River Books, just puts out phenomenally well-written books. The back catalog is filled with crime fiction by Jake Hinkson, Jedidiah Ayres, and Scott Alderberg, but the first book I read was Kelby Losack’s Heathenish, though it has crime in it is more of a literary autobiography followed by Gabino Iglesias’ Zero Saints. Broken River Books was 2 for 2 in reading enjoyment and now after Kazepis’ Gravity, it is 3 for 3.
Gravity is nine short stories that bring forth their own images and history such as the absurd “Time in the Shadow of the Thing Too Big to See” that tells the story of a young man named Salvador Dali, “My parents used to tell me I was him. That I was his reincarnation.”
In the story “Thrush,” we meet K who has been assigned to kill Croatian diplomat on the island of Andros in Greece.
K shut the door and walked down the hall to the shared lavatory and took a hot shower, and noticed he couldn’t feel the temperature, like the water was coming out cold, so he turned it up all the way and sat and steam filled the room, and he meditated until the shiver went. Later he took a nap, not because he was tired but because he was bored, and while he slept smoke rolled off his skin as though from out of his pores, and filled the room.”
Each of Michael Kazepis’ stories is written with the same level of care as the excerpt above, every sentence stands on its own wild imagery twisting the reader’s imagination away from ordinariness to a swirling world of supra-naturalism, the words distilling their own wondrous poetry.