I finished the podcast version of “Tattoo”, a novelette by Paul E. Cooley, on the way to work this morning. It’s available both at the author’s site and at Podiobooks.com. I listened to it from the latter’s feed.
I’ve made no secret, Paul is one of my favorite “new” authors. It’s been a pleasure having him on the Grindstone. Tattoo is a prime example of why I enjoy his work. While I haven’t listened to or read everything he’s done, I can say that between this and Closet Treats he does psychological horror very well.
The synopsis is as follows:
Scars. They remind us who we are, what we are and where we have been. But when a scar takes away your identity, what would you do to get it back? Jackson, a journalist in Houston, discovers links between several murders that have taken place in his city. His investigation draws him into the world of body art where he discovers an obsession worth killing for.
I don’t have any tattoos, myself. It’s something I’ve thought about and investigated. I’ve known a number of people who have them and one or two that have a lot of them. As such I can say that he paints a pretty good picture of what the culture is like. The main character, Jackson, is a stranger to all of it and it mystifies him, even as it does me. Watching him enter that world and the price that he pays is fascinating. The killer that he’s hunting gets very little “screen” time as we discussed on the Grindstone and that makes his appearance that much more effective. I thoroughly enjoyed, if that’s the right word, this story and can whole heartedly endorse it.
The audio from the podcast is well done and the voices that Paul does, add to the story. It’s a short work, coming in at six episodes in the twenty to thirty minute range. I believe the whole thing is about two hours long or a little less. So, I say it’s short, but that’s a feature length film.
If you like it, you may consider buying the limited edition hardcover of Fiends which includes “Canvas”, “Tattoo”, “Closet Treats”, and some bonus material. I believe it’s also coming out in paperback in the near future.