“The Kill Sign” by Marvin Shackelford is excellent in a way that is somewhat uncomfortable to read. It’s gritty, which is overused as a descriptor, but I am going to leave it here. It has that dark sort of griminess the South and any other rural, neglected area filled with neglected people has. The kind where you see it or read about it and it strikes you as reality on some deep level, but you don’t want to feel like you’re a part of it. The kind of place where incredible beauty or incredible ugliness can erupt from nowhere. The uncomfortable comes from realizing how like this sort of desperate broken person we all are on some level. Kind of a reminder of something largely forgotten which is also uncomfortable to admit. This and his other stories remind me of what the South is really like outside of the cities.
Disclaimer: Marvin Shackelford has been one of my closest friends for nigh 15 years. I don’t give the rating or review for that reason, but seemed like something I should mention.