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Frank's Book Log

Literature is a relative term.

The Horse Thief

2017 | Short Story
A cover of The Horse Thief by Philip Fracassi (2017)
B: 4 stars (out of 5)
on Apr 19, 2022

One humid Florida night, Gabino, an aging horse thief, steals a prize mare for Fat Ted, a black-market middleman. Bad things happen.

That’s as specific as I can get about “The Horse Thief” without spoiling the story’s surprises. It offers a deft mix of noir and horror that proves both unsettling and melancholy:

When she ran her black coat rippled with underlying muscle like a wind-blown lake in Hell.

Fracassi also shows an aptitude for the hard-boiled genre:

The only folks coming to see Fat Ted were the folks Fat Ted wanted to see.

I envisioned Fat Ted as a heavier version of Chris Penn’s character from Reservoir Dogs. Fracassi’s dialog evokes a similar natural cadence and organic tone.

“Because all these scenarios have a problem, see, and that problem is that it leaves me with the mess. The mess and the heat. So, you see, sir, that we abso-fuckin-lutely have ourselves a teensy-weensy problem, all right?”

Granted, the ending didn’t thrill me the way Fracassi intended, but I didn’t feel cheated either.

Reading History

    Tue Apr 19, 2022 via Kindle (Behold the Void, Lovecraft eZine Press, 2018)