Review: Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

‘Uncommon Type’ isn’t ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ and that’s just fine. Very few albums are.

Albums like ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ that you can listen to from start to finish without skipping a single track, are few and far between. The same can be said for short story collections. ‘Uncommon Type’ by Tom Hanks was as surprising as it was wonderful, even if it was no ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’.

Hanks likes to say that when he first started out, his writing was lacking a voice. Well, there is no evidence of that here. His voice is strong, and unique, and his prose is thought-out and confident. He is best, I found, when exploring the inner workings of his characters. The young man in ‘Welcome To Mars’ who makes an unfortunate discovery; the single-mom of ‘A Month On Greene Street’ and her reluctance at embracing her new neighbour; a lost soul in need of a friend in New York, New York, in the story ‘Who’s Who’; the broken-yet-whole veterans of ‘Christmas Eve 1953,’ and the enigmatic yet distant mother of the boy in ‘A Special Weekend’. These stories are tender, and beautifully written, and I really felt that we were getting the real Hanks here.

Strangely, the story I didn’t connect with so much was the very story most reviewers claim is the standout of the entire collection. ‘Alan Bean Plus Four’ was entertaining, yes, but I could not connect with it at a deeper level, perhaps because I found the concept behind it so absurd. The same could be said for time-travel tale, ‘The Past Is Important To Us’. Another story I did not connect with was ‘A Junket In The City Of Lights’ as it seemed too on-the-nose, to be honest. We know Hanks is a famous actor, and this insight into what a press-tour can really be like was interesting, but obvious. It didn’t surprise the same way the others did, even though it was brilliantly written.

Of 17 stories in this collection, I found fault in just three of them. That ain’t half bad! In fact, ‘Uncommon Type’ is an exceptional collection of short fiction by a strong, fertile literary voice. I will be going back for second-helpings, and hoping that Hanks has caught the bug to write more. Because he really should.

‘Uncommon Type’ isn’t ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ and that’s just fine. Very few albums are.

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“I have a Star Trek emergency.” IN DISCUSSION WITH… DAYTON WARD

Today I welcome author Dayton Ward here for a lengthy chat. Dayton is a prolific science-fiction and media tie-in author who has dabbled in Star Trek, 24, Planet of the Apes, The 4400, and other properties. Author Kevin Dilmore is a frequent collaborator (and partner in crime). Dayton is also a regular contributor to StarTrek.com, and has previously written content for Tor.com, Star Trek Magazine, and the blog Novel Spaces. You’ve probably read his Ten For Ward articles on StarTrek.com over the years. I know I have.

You can read the interview by clicking here!

“Punch as hard as you can. Drive them into the corner and don’t let up.” IN DISCUSSION WITH… BERNARD SCHAFFER

Today I’m in discussion with Bernard Schaffer. I’ve known Bernard for a long time, and we’ve collaborated with each other, and edited each other’s work for years. Not only is Bernard an author, he is a full-time police detective, and father of two kids.

A career spanning twenty years has seen him become a decorated criminal investigator, narcotics expert and child forensic interviewer. Since I have known him, Bernard has been a formidable champion of independent publishing. His experience working the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA is present in much of his work.

It’s that real-life experience that makes his novel, The Thief Of All Light, so vivid and realistic (it’s released by Kensington Publications in Summer 2018). I was fortunate enough to be a beta (and early editor) on that book, and can tell you that it’s no surprise to me that Kensington wanted to publish it. Not only that, but they signed Bernard for a sequel, too. I’ve always been a fan of his work, but The Thief Of All Light is truly his best yet.

You can read the interview by clicking here!

“Never give up. Never.” IN DISCUSSION WITH… HARRY HUNSICKER!

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with author Harry Hunsicker! I met Harry briefly last year in LA, while we were both filming our Kindle Most Wanted segments. Harry is the former executive vice-president of the Mystery Writers of America. His work has been short-listed for both the Shamus and Thriller Awards and his story “West of Nowhere,” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2011. His latest novel is THE DEVIL’S COUNTRY, and it’s one helluva book.

You can read the interview by clicking here!

Hope’s Peak is now available to Pr-eorder!

We have a cover! We have a pre-order link!

Here it is!

Hope's Peak by [Healey, Tony]

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER

“Beyond the shores of Hope’s Peak, North Carolina, evil waits as his next victim approaches. He’ll make her a princess like the others…

Detective Jane Harper can’t shake the image of the young woman discovered in a field—eyes closed, a crown of woven vines on her head. She expects macabre murders like this in her native San Francisco, not here. Jane and her partner, Stu, vow to catch the killer, but in this town, that’s easier said than done. The police department is in the grips of a wide-reaching scandal that could topple the entire force, and Jane and Stu face a series of dead ends. Until they meet Ida Lane.

Ida knows too well the evil that lurks in the cornfields. Tortured by her mother’s murder years before, Ida is paralyzed by the fear that she could be next. As the killer grows bolder, Jane must persuade Ida to use her remarkable gifts to help in the investigation. It’s a decision that brings them closer to the killer…maybe too close.”

How cool does that sound?

And here’s a little sample of what’s in store. I promise you, this novel is worth the wait. It’s my best work, and I’m very proud of it.

***

A living being has warmth, the reassuring rhythm of its heart, the flow of hot blood through miles of veins. It has the marriage of mind and spirit, united in forming a whole.

Ida relishes such connections. They bring insight, allow her to experience the bond of humanity she has missed out on. Tapping into memory, into feelings. Touching a pregnant woman’s stomach, hearing the hum of the tiny life within . . . all of it a wonder.

With the dead, it’s different.

It is not a merging of psyches, but an electric shock, a charge of energy fusing her to the spirit locked within the lifeless body. The voice howls like the wind: unbalanced, completely open. Pulling her in, forcing her to see, to hear, to feel . . .

Pre-order your copy of Hope’s Peak, and let me know in the comments below!