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    Trent Zelazny treads along well-worn paths, but brings his own touch to the tales included in his debut story collection.
     Warning: Many of these stories are graphic in nature. Zelazny's hapless creations are an ill-mannered lot, gifted in choosing the wrong path to pursue whatever problem they're wrestling with in their lives. They have two main interests, drinking and sex. They make Stephen Kings' low-life of Castle Rock, Maine seem like good country gentlemen.
     There is a mischevious schoolboy charm to the proceedings regardless of the content, an implication of getting away with breaking barriers, crossing lines, a smirk and a wink as the story unfolds. The author has a gift for choosing just the right disturbing detail with which to prod the reader.
     The title story follows a man who must deliver good news to the inhabitants of a God forsaken corner of the sticks, stumbling into some hillbilly hell, a hybrid of David Lynch via Stephen King. Strangeness abounds. The circumstances are so bizarre it has to be taken as the darkest of black comedy. Be prepared to say aloud, 'What just happened?' as you read.
     The creeping claustrophobia of "Caught in Etcetera" is unsettling and grates on the nerves by the end. You suffer the malaise his life has become as a participant. You feel the dread and monotony.
     "A Dead Man's Burrito" invites comparison with Quentin Tarrantino in the almost offhand violence that occurs. The author is having fun and we share that sense as well as our buttons are pushed and we're thrust along further into the funhouse.
     There is also a clever story for writers on how to compose short fiction that will attract interest from the editors of The New Yorker.
     You will find many guilty pleasures in the pages of this collection. You may have to pause now and then, shake your head at the antics depicted and move along in the story. I was comforted in the certainty that my actions would in no way resemble the wild bunch loose on these fictional stages.
     It's freaky fun.