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8 Pounds: Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense

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These eight tales run the gamut from small-town horror to old-school, whiskey-slugging noir, with a touch of coming-of-age adventure thrown in for good measure. We're talking over a hundred print pages of pure pulp perfection that'll cost you less than the paper it ain't printed on. Includes the Spinetingler-Award-winning "Seven Days of Rain," Derringer-Award finalist "The These eight tales run the gamut from small-town horror to old-school, whiskey-slugging noir, with a touch of coming-of-age adventure thrown in for good measure. We're talking over a hundred print pages of pure pulp perfection that'll cost you less than the paper it ain't printed on. Includes the Spinetingler-Award-winning "Seven Days of Rain," Derringer-Award finalist "The Big Score," and "The World Behind," which originally appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Also included are "A Better Life," "The Well," "A Simple Kindness," "Eight Pounds," and "The Toll Collectors."


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These eight tales run the gamut from small-town horror to old-school, whiskey-slugging noir, with a touch of coming-of-age adventure thrown in for good measure. We're talking over a hundred print pages of pure pulp perfection that'll cost you less than the paper it ain't printed on. Includes the Spinetingler-Award-winning "Seven Days of Rain," Derringer-Award finalist "The These eight tales run the gamut from small-town horror to old-school, whiskey-slugging noir, with a touch of coming-of-age adventure thrown in for good measure. We're talking over a hundred print pages of pure pulp perfection that'll cost you less than the paper it ain't printed on. Includes the Spinetingler-Award-winning "Seven Days of Rain," Derringer-Award finalist "The Big Score," and "The World Behind," which originally appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Also included are "A Better Life," "The Well," "A Simple Kindness," "Eight Pounds," and "The Toll Collectors."

30 review for 8 Pounds: Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    In 8 Pounds, author Chris F. Holm presents us with eight tales of crime, horror and suspense. The stories themselves provide glimpses into selfishness, self-preservation, betrayal and straight up horror. "On the first day, nobody paid it no mind. Sure, the power flickered and the gutters overflowed, but most just figured it'd blow over by daybreak. On the second day, the river swelled. Folks took off work to haul sandbags to the riverbanks, hoping to keep the rising waters at bay. They worked for In 8 Pounds, author Chris F. Holm presents us with eight tales of crime, horror and suspense. The stories themselves provide glimpses into selfishness, self-preservation, betrayal and straight up horror. "On the first day, nobody paid it no mind. Sure, the power flickered and the gutters overflowed, but most just figured it'd blow over by daybreak. On the second day, the river swelled. Folks took off work to haul sandbags to the riverbanks, hoping to keep the rising waters at bay. They worked for hours in the wind and wet, and in the end, that river breached its banks and sent 'em running. On the third day, they found the body." Look, if that doesn't grab you right away, I don't know what will. The collection starts off strong with Seven Days of Rain, a story about guilt and doing what's right despite your own best interests. While I wasn't a huge fan of the follow-up, A Better Life, Holmes hits us with a thriller in the third story about a woman on the run and an unsuspecting good Samaritan caught up in her circumstances with A Simple Act of Kindness. The book moves along smoothly with the pulse pounding Eight Pounds. Holm turns the suspense up to eleven as two best friends share drinks at a pub – one harboring a secret from the other. The tension rises when the guilty party suspects he's been outed leading to a memorable conclusion. He snorted, took a drink. "We're all of us the killing kind," he said. "With the proper motivation, any one of us is capable of just about anything. Murder. Theft. Betrayal. But then you of all people should know that." Aside from the very short The Well, the collection finishes up with a classic crime caper in The Big Score and a coming of age story in The World Behind. While I felt The Well seemed out of place and had a bit of a puzzling ending, the two stories that followed finished strong. The Big Score kept me guessing right until the very end while The World Behind tugged on the ol' heartstrings. Overall, while I felt it was not as strong as its stellar successor, Dead Letters, 8 Pounds is a good collection of varied stories from a great author. Given its bargain price on Amazon right now – you should give it a read. Cross Posted @ Every Read Thing

  2. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Wow, I was pleasantly surprised by this collection. I had never heard of this author previously but I will follow his work here on out. Just like the title suggests this is 8 tales of crime, horror and suspense. Except they should add the word terrific or great. It's hard to pick a favorite but the second and last stories (forget the names off the top of my head)were especially good. Highly Recommended. Wow, I was pleasantly surprised by this collection. I had never heard of this author previously but I will follow his work here on out. Just like the title suggests this is 8 tales of crime, horror and suspense. Except they should add the word terrific or great. It's hard to pick a favorite but the second and last stories (forget the names off the top of my head)were especially good. Highly Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    sj

    Originally posted here. Initially, I thought I'd be posting a standard review of 8 Pounds, but am still not entirely sure how to go about  that.  Reviewing short stories is HARD, yo. You guys all know that I already enjoy Holm's writing (since I've talked about it before here and here), and as evidenced by our limited interactions on twitter, he's a pretty neat guy. So, having experienced Holm's The Collector series (two books so far and I'm EAGERLY ANTICIPATING the third [only seven months to wait Originally posted here. Initially, I thought I'd be posting a standard review of 8 Pounds, but am still not entirely sure how to go about  that.  Reviewing short stories is HARD, yo. You guys all know that I already enjoy Holm's writing (since I've talked about it before here and here), and as evidenced by our limited interactions on twitter, he's a pretty neat guy. So, having experienced Holm's The Collector series (two books so far and I'm EAGERLY ANTICIPATING the third [only seven months to wait!]), I thought I knew what I'd be in for when I decided to read some short stories that my illness addled brain would be able to focus on. That was my first mistake. Second mistake?  Reading in bed while trying to fall asleep. Third mistake (yeah, I made a few)?  Not taking the "Horror and Suspense" part of the tagline seriously. Because, while The Collector books are full of dark humour, they look like sunshine and unicorns dodisharkicorns and rainbows next to the fuligin cloak* that is 8 Pounds. No, I'm not even kidding. Back to the mistakes!  I should never have read the story "A Better Life" right before falling asleep.  It led to the WORST EVER, most terrifying dreams.  Even now (a few days later and in the broad light of day) is still pretty haunting.  I hope I never have to worry about mice in my house, or I'll be sure that this story is playing out in real life. Also haunting me (probably FOREVER, so thanks for nothing, Mr Holm) is the story "The Well" which...I don't even have words.  It's only ~800 words long, but its emotional impact is that of something with thousands of words of set up and plotting.  I mean, I write blog posts that are over 800 words long ALL THE TIME, but nothing I've written will have the potential to stay in your mind long after your eyes leave the page.  Not like this, anyway. While these two stories alone are worth the price of admission, another must read is the titular story.  In "8 Pounds" a couple of old friends are laughing over drinks and arguing whether 8 Pounds is the going rate or weight of a human head.  I was giggling at it until the last few sentences, when I was hit with the literary equivalent of a junk punch.  Dude. I guess what I'm saying is this:  even if you're not (or THINK you're not) into crime stories or horror stories or suspense stories as a general rule, you get 8 stories in this collection for 99¢.  I don't usually think of myself as a fan of crime fiction, but it didn't impair my enjoyment in the slightest.  Yes, you'll find some of the standard genre tropes inside, but they're all done in such an enjoyable way that maybe you won't notice.  Give it a chance - you have nothing to lose but a dollar and a few hours of your time, and might even find a story that grabs you and sticks with you. * fuuuu, Kate's going to be thrilled that I'm speaking in Wolfeisms

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A.

    Are you ready for a Halloween treat? I hope so, because author Chris F. Holm sure has some goodies ready for your reading pleasure. In 8 Pounds: Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense Holm serves up eight wonderfully entertaining short stories that will have you up late into the night reading, and leave you hungry for more. Though every story in the collection is a home run, there were a few standouts for me. “Seven Days of Rain” starts the collection off, and right away you know you’re in for Are you ready for a Halloween treat? I hope so, because author Chris F. Holm sure has some goodies ready for your reading pleasure. In 8 Pounds: Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense Holm serves up eight wonderfully entertaining short stories that will have you up late into the night reading, and leave you hungry for more. Though every story in the collection is a home run, there were a few standouts for me. “Seven Days of Rain” starts the collection off, and right away you know you’re in for something special: “There’s men’s plans and then there’s God’s plans, and it looks for damn sure like God don’t think much of mine.” So thinks Eddie Hanscombe, a man whose plan 60 years ago was to bury something, literally and figuratively, and be done with it. During a biblical seven day rain, however, Eddie comes to understand nothing about the past is ever really buried, and that God always has the last laugh. “The World Behind” also deals with the past. Timothy Hewitt was a shy, fearful kid in the summer of 1986, one who let his fear drive him down a path that forever changed his life. He took to hiding in the woods that summer to avoid a bully that had it in for him and, as the adult Timothy reflects, it was in those woods he discovered who he really was… as well as what had been happening to all the animals that were disappearing from homes around town. “The World Behind” is a wonderful coming of age story, albeit with a slightly ominous undertone. “The Toll Collectors” is probably my favorite story in the collection, though saying that is a bit like picking a “favorite” child. A marvelously atmospheric horror story, “The Toll Collectors” finds professional thug-for-hire Ray McDaniel traveling a dark, lonely stretch of interstate on his way home after a particularly nasty job. I don’t want to ruin the story, so suffice it to say that before the night is over Ray ends up not so alone and owing a toll that can’t be paid with money. Other stories include “A Better Life” (a seemingly innocuous tale of man vs. mouse that will level you with a gut-punch of an ending), “A Simple Kindness” (proving that no good deed goes unpunished), “The Well” (shortest of the bunch, and the one most likely to make your jaw drop and skin crawl), “Eight Pounds” (the title story, which finds two bar buddies discussing the weight, and worth, of a human head… but to what end?), and “The Big Score” (in which a New England lobsterman catches more than he bargained for). Holm has put together in 8 Pounds a tight, gripping collection of stories that flow seamlessly from one to the next even though each definitely has its own distinct feel and flavor. You get a little bit of horror, a little bit of crime fiction, a little bit of suspense, and a whole lot of top-notch storytelling.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    I was already a fan of Chris F. Holm's short stories before I picked up this collection. In fact, I'd already read six of the eight stories in 8 POUNDS on crime/pulp fiction sites such as Thuglit and Beat to a Pulp. But reading his stories together, one after another, only deepened my admiration for his work. Holm's writing is extraordinarily powerful, conjuring images that remain seared into my brain long after I finished reading. I can't recommend 8 POUNDS highly enough. I was already a fan of Chris F. Holm's short stories before I picked up this collection. In fact, I'd already read six of the eight stories in 8 POUNDS on crime/pulp fiction sites such as Thuglit and Beat to a Pulp. But reading his stories together, one after another, only deepened my admiration for his work. Holm's writing is extraordinarily powerful, conjuring images that remain seared into my brain long after I finished reading. I can't recommend 8 POUNDS highly enough.

  6. 4 out of 5

    eleanor

    Completely Mind-Blowing-

  7. 5 out of 5

    Asha Stark

    Short stories always leave me irritated when they end suddenly which is stupid because I know what a damn short story is... And yet.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    My Rating: 3 Stars Chris Holm does horror well; I only wish this collection had more. The crime stories, while enjoyable didn’t quite hit the high notes of his darker pieces. Below is a recap of the stories which comprise ‘8 Pounds’. Seven Days of Rain – an old man is forced to own up to a past sin when a body in a barrel surfaces many years after the fact. Cold, dark, and damp crime finished off with perfect symmetry. A Better Life – a creepy rendition of a vermin infested old house by which in My Rating: 3 Stars Chris Holm does horror well; I only wish this collection had more. The crime stories, while enjoyable didn’t quite hit the high notes of his darker pieces. Below is a recap of the stories which comprise ‘8 Pounds’. Seven Days of Rain – an old man is forced to own up to a past sin when a body in a barrel surfaces many years after the fact. Cold, dark, and damp crime finished off with perfect symmetry. A Better Life – a creepy rendition of a vermin infested old house by which incessant scratching and bumps in the night allude to the supernatural. A Simple Kindness – run of the mill blockbuster blackmail piece where a man’s head is overshadowed by his heart and instant attraction to a mysterious and seemingly distressed beauty. A pleasant twist and steady build up of lies forged on mislead perception. The Toll Collectors – a well written salute to survival horror in which a hit man is confronted by his conquests along an abandoned highway flanked by dense woodland. Atmospheric and chilling. 8 Pounds – the title story is serviceable while not being overly captivating. A simple vendetta is realised with dire consequences with an underlying warning to all – cheaters get caught eventually. The Well – short, sharp, and well executed. A young girl is felled by an hidden well and forced to eat anything that’s unfortunate enough to join her in the dusty depths – brutal and uncompromising despite its short length, one of the best in the collection. The Big Score – an ode to fisherman noir, if you will, involving gun smuggling, mislead perception, deceit and murder. The World Behind – victimised by a local bully, a boy seeks solace in nearby woods where he discovers Isaac, a former solider slightly mentally incapacitated. The two form a friendship ruined only by fire. Engrossing and not at what the surface leads the reader to believe. Overall this is a solid collection and serves well as an introduction to a very talented author.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    There is a clear inspiration from Stephen King and quite frankly, no one has been able to pull it off better than Chris Holm. He draws inspiration from the best and implements original elements in his stories. My favorites were SEVEN DAYS OF RAIN, THE TOLL COLLECTORS and THE WORLD BEHIND. Holm is at his best when he mixes mystery and horror and talks about innocence lost. Very talented writer, 8 Pounds is short but well worth its tiny price. It's a good window to the capacities of Chris F. Holm. There is a clear inspiration from Stephen King and quite frankly, no one has been able to pull it off better than Chris Holm. He draws inspiration from the best and implements original elements in his stories. My favorites were SEVEN DAYS OF RAIN, THE TOLL COLLECTORS and THE WORLD BEHIND. Holm is at his best when he mixes mystery and horror and talks about innocence lost. Very talented writer, 8 Pounds is short but well worth its tiny price. It's a good window to the capacities of Chris F. Holm. I'm looking forward to read his novel DEAD HARVEST

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Chris F. Holm is one of the finest writers working out there today, and 8 Pounds is a great showcase for his talent. He has the ability to render sympathetic characters and create vivid landscape with the minimum number of words necessary. He deserves to break out and this collection is exhibit A when making the case. Every story is great, but my favorites are "The Toll Collectors", "Seven Days of Rain", and "The Big Score". Recommended. Chris F. Holm is one of the finest writers working out there today, and 8 Pounds is a great showcase for his talent. He has the ability to render sympathetic characters and create vivid landscape with the minimum number of words necessary. He deserves to break out and this collection is exhibit A when making the case. Every story is great, but my favorites are "The Toll Collectors", "Seven Days of Rain", and "The Big Score". Recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darren Sant

    I think what I enjoyed most about Eight Pounds was the variety of the stories. There is a little bit of something for everyone in there. I enjoyed both the pace and style of the stories. Some were subtle and clever, whilst others were bolder, brasher and more in your face. If you like horror, noir or just a tale well told then there is something here for you. A talented writer whose works I shall follow with interest.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    I first became aware of Chris Holm through Best American Mystery Stories 2011, which reprinted his story "The Hitter." I was so impressed with that story I looked for more of his work and found this collection, which was a steal at 99 cents. As is the case with practically any story collection, there were stories I liked more than others, but overall it was really solid and worth checking out. I first became aware of Chris Holm through Best American Mystery Stories 2011, which reprinted his story "The Hitter." I was so impressed with that story I looked for more of his work and found this collection, which was a steal at 99 cents. As is the case with practically any story collection, there were stories I liked more than others, but overall it was really solid and worth checking out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mattzog

    I don't usually read this kind of stuff, but I after I bumped into the author at a wedding (we had mutual friends in college) I decided to pony up the 99 cents for the Kindle edition. I was hesitant to read it, in case it sucked, but I needn't have feared. It was a fun read. In particular I enjoyed the World Behind. That shit would make a good movie. I don't usually read this kind of stuff, but I after I bumped into the author at a wedding (we had mutual friends in college) I decided to pony up the 99 cents for the Kindle edition. I was hesitant to read it, in case it sucked, but I needn't have feared. It was a fun read. In particular I enjoyed the World Behind. That shit would make a good movie.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike Schneider

    A collection of short stories each with a twist, this short book is a good change of pace before tackling a long novel. Several of the stories are very good and the small investment of your time required makes this book a good choice.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Very well written stories that do the genres he works within proud: Avoids clichés, always surprises, has characters you can empathize with. The quality of the writing reminded me of Stephen King, with his knack for quickly establishing place, character, and mood, and keeping the pace fast.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nik Korpon

    Just got to go back into it. Everything is as awesome as I remember. Review coming soon to Spinetingler Mag. Full review here. Just got to go back into it. Everything is as awesome as I remember. Review coming soon to Spinetingler Mag. Full review here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky J

    I enjoyed it, but found the writing slightly cheesy - you know, when you can't quite fully get into the story because something about the writing keeps reminding you that you're just reading a book? For the cheap Kindle price it was totally worth it though. I enjoyed it, but found the writing slightly cheesy - you know, when you can't quite fully get into the story because something about the writing keeps reminding you that you're just reading a book? For the cheap Kindle price it was totally worth it though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book was really what I needed to propel me reading. I was a little stuck in a rut. Short bites of fiction, most all leaving me wanting to know more afterwards. I'm starting Dead Letters tonight. This book was really what I needed to propel me reading. I was a little stuck in a rut. Short bites of fiction, most all leaving me wanting to know more afterwards. I'm starting Dead Letters tonight.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I am torn about this one. Liked the writing style and the stories, but some of the story endings seemed like the author cut corners to finish and they needed to be fleshed out a little more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carol Ann

    This deals with more horror than suspense. I was just crept out by most of the tales.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Grefe

    Eight pounds of darn good storytelling.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Solid collection of noir pulp short stories from a writer friend made good. The ghoulish midnight stroll of Toll Collectors is a highlight.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Very fun, early King-esque thrillers. This guy has promise.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Not Now...Mommy's Reading

    Great collection of tales by this author!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thasha Wilkinson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen Dyer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jacques Filippi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Nagel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christa Knoll

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