Title: Devil’s Arcade
Author: Mark Charan Newton
Collection: Darkness on the Edge – Tales Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Spingsteen – Ed by Harrison Howe
Publisher: PS Publishing
Release Date: Out Now in Traycased Hardcover (signed)/Hardcover (unsigned)
A war veteran comes home from Iraq and slowly deteriorates.
Darkness on the Edge is a collection of tales inspired by the songs of Bruce Springsteen. The song Newton chose not surprisingly is Devil’s Arcade.
It does feel a little odd to centre a collection of short stories around the music of one man but that’s because for me it feels like an exercise you get in creative writing classes, which isn’t comment on the story, it’s more a comment on the odd nature of the anthology.
Does it feel like a creative writing exercise? Nope.
Is it a good story? Yes and no.
Because short stories are by there nature short they can’t do everything. They can’t build character, tell a story and give the reader an emotional journey unless they are in the hands of a master of the craft.
Devil’s Arcade builds a character though to be accurate we watch as he crumbles. But as there is that lack of room here to build mystery and that makes information harder to hide and is the part that doesn’t not quite work for me. It’d have liked to have seem some more misdirection as it felt a little predictable in its ending.
But do have story that remains faithful to Springsteen’s anti-war message and the examination of what happens when a trained but damaged killer is left to walk around with no other real help.
It’s worth reading for the emotional journey and insight and to see Newton have a stab at an truly American setting and feel, which he does quite well with.