Review: “The Ones Who Got Away” by Stephen Graham Jones

2 of 5 stars.

This brief tale follows a couple teenaged stoner misfits as they get roped into a caper that turns into a horror show. The crash of genres along with the jagged, colloquial narration keeps the reader at arm’s distance, unfortunately.

The narrator and his bestie Tim owe their dealer, Mark, a few favors. They opt to pay it off by pulling a bogus kidnapping which Mark was tasked with. The dumb 15 y.o.s approach it like one’d see in a 70’s sitcom with a bad “pizza delivery” cover and no plan.

When young Nicholas opens the door to Tim’s pizza delivery, Tim makes to grab him but is grabbed himself by Nicholas’ sadistic butcher of a father. . .

A sub-theme about how Nicholas’ and the narrator’s lives were altered that day in countering ways is the strength and heart of the story.

This short story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran. I’ve previously reviewed this author’s “The Elvis Room” and “Little Monsters”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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