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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review - Silent Bombs Falling On Green Grass by Russell Mardell


Title: Silent Bombs Falling On Green Grass
Author: Russell Mardell
Published:  2010 by Troubador Publishing
Format: Print book provided by author for review


Welcome to Mewlish Lull - the sort of town you pass through on your way to somewhere else without even noticing it exists. This debut collection of short fiction presents a bizarre portrait of a world just to the left of reality. In twelve stories and with a cast of oddball characters, through the most absurd of comedies, the darkest of nightmares and those quiet moments of madness that live within us all Silent Bombs Falling on Green Grass takes us to a strange town where anything could happen... If only you could fit in. But sometimes being an outsider is the only way to be...


Before I began reading this story, I knew this book would be unlike anything I’ve read thus far.  And I was completely correct in that assumption. 

First, the cover.  I’m in love with this cover.  So many covers have such hard lines, such defined themes, that this one really is something that is going to make you think.  You have to look at it to figure out all of the shapes.  The vagueness of it all is just beautiful.   And then you open the book and start to read.  

Silent Bombs Falling On Green Grass contains twelve stories.  The language they are written with is so artistic and beautiful.  Don’t get afraid of it, its not like it is hard to understand… it’s just different from what I normally read.  So all of these stories center in and around the area of Mewlish Lull.  While Googling to find out if Mewlish Lull is a real place (as far as I could tell, it is not) I stumbled upon one review that compared it to Twilight Zone.  And instantly I said to myself “yes!”  That is exactly the perfect comparison.  Silent Bombs Falling On Green Grass is a bit eerie, a bit horror, a tad humorous, and a bit reality. 

Of course, I can’t go over every story.  That’s your job to read it.  But a couple I really liked are Rain, Armand Drinks Whiskey, and Four Doors Down.

In Rain the story begins with a man on a train, on his way to Mewlish Lull.  The narrator has such a distinct voice, I could easily picture him being Ewan McGregor or even John Cusack.  The voice kind of feels like it is frustrated with life, tired of it all… and on a train heading to a place that is unknown.   

“The train station was an art gallery where everyone was putting themselves on display.”

It tells of one night in Mewlish Lull that is oddly filled with a lot of action for him.  He gets the chance to be a hero, to meet a woman, and see something very odd…in a bathtub.

Next, Armand Drinks Whiskey.  This was a very odd tale.  There were moments I became confused, but then I had to wonder if that was a little bit of the point.  Tatch watches a man every day from his office window.  This man has a distinct routine.  And so Tatch decides to mess with that a bit. 

First, he steals the man’s phone.  And then he watches as the man definitely seems  a bit off without it.  And then the phone rings and he answers it.  The man’s name is David.  And then Tatch does something that is definitely teetering on the edge of sanity.

He begins to steal the man’s identity.  He learns his signature, speaks to his family on the phone.  I really felt like he was losing his mind during this whole process.  I had to ask myself, “Did he actually become homeless and crazy, or was it all a fantasy in his head while he daydreamed at work?”  I’m still not really sure, and that’s what I love.  You really have to think while reading this book.

And lastly, Four Doors Down. This story scared me!  We begin with Ronald, and he fell asleep on the train leaving Mewlish Lull.  When he wakes up he has missed his stop and he is now in Hanging Twitch. Then he notices the man next to him is…dead. Now he is in the middle of nowhere.  There is a man, I don’t know if he is a train conductor, or someone who works at the train stop in Hanging Twitch.  But he is definitely an odd fellow.  He informs Ronald that he is expected to stay the night because the police Sergeant wants to speak to him in the morning, and there are no more trains out that night. And there is the matter of the corpse to contend with.

The man has arranged for Ronald to stay at a guest house…and they must get the corpse there as well.  This town is so small that there is no police, no hospital, and definitely no morgue.  The trip to the house is a bit creepy and a little disturbing.  But what happens when he gets to his room in the house is when the fear started.  I’m not going to ruin this surprise for you, but I wouldn’t suggest reading this story before you go to bed (as I did!)

So if you are in the mood for something very different, I highly suggest checking this book out.  It is full of surprises, twists and turns. It is very clever and extremely well written. 

Find Russell Mardell Online...


About the author...

Russell is a playwright, scriptwriter, novelist, producer and sometime director based in the south west of England. Also a self-confessed music obsessive and film geek, he drinks too much tea and still, despite being given many reasons not to, retains a lifelong passion for Everton football club.
He has written and directed the films Burn and Cool Blokes: Decent Suits and is at work on his next two scripts. His stage plays include Cool Blokes: Decent Suits, The Seventeenth Valentine and Freestate
Silent Bombs Falling on Green Grass, Russell’s debut collection of short fiction, is now available through Troubador Publishing



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