At The End Of The Day I Burst Into Flames: Nicholas Day
Reviewed By Steve Stred
KR: I’ve had this review sitting in the KR folder since February.
I’ve seen this book praised for a bit now and it’s been quietly sharing some space on my Kindle TBR for six months or so. Every once in a while, while I’m in the midst of 4 to 6 long reads, I like to take a one night break and plough through a book in a single sitting.
I recently saw Steven Gomzi give this book some love and thought – BINGO – let’s jump in and see how I fair.
I do have Day’s most recent ‘Grind Your Bones to Dust,’ but haven’t read any of his work until now.
‘At The End of the Day I Burst Into Flames’ is unconventional, claustrophobic and exhilarating. It’s heartbreaking to a level I’ve not read lately and at the same time frustrating because as the story unfolds you don’t want to see our main character continue to get hurt.
The story follows ‘Firecracker.’ The nickname our character has been given by his mom due to his resemblance to his father. His father spontaneously combusted when he was little, as did his grandfather.
Now, Firecracker can feel that his time is near. So he reflects on his life and how much he has loved and all of the pain that this love has created.
There are some brutal, brutal moments in this which works so well. God, does it work well. Day has no problem turning the amp up to 11 at times.
I think the most poignant part of the story, though, was Firecracker’s relationship with Death. It’s a very unique perspective and the way that Day weaved that into the story was fantastic, but also heartbreaking.
This was one of those rare books where I fully expected to enjoy it and then ended up loving it. It was different, well thought out and delivered. The last one that did this to me was ‘All Hail the House Gods,’ by Andrew J. Stone.
I’ll be moving ‘Grind Your Bones to Dust’ up my TBR now for sure, but if you are looking for that single sitting, soul-crushing read to break up your TBR, I really can’t recommend this one enough.
At The End Of The Day I Burst Into Flames
In the little city of Wood River, Illinois, a man nicknamed Firecracker knows the end is near. The fire is coming, just like it came for his father, his grandfather, and who knows how many men. After all, folks in those parts have a short-term memory when it comes to history, and lots of stories have a tendency to go to the grave. Maybe the fire was always there. Maybe it came along when the oil refinery went up in 1907. Who can say? Sometimes, a yarn like this is as close to a history book as a Midwest community and its people are apt to get.
When it happened to his father, the doctors only called it an accident. But Firecracker’s mother had a name for it: spontaneous combustion. Firecracker knows there is no way to escape this Act of God, so he retreats into his memories. Past and present become one and the same. The veil of reality pulls away and Death arrives in time for one last conversation, where Firecracker comes to terms with the mysteries of his own life, and realizes that some questions are not nearly as important as the moments which spawned them.
From the first line of the tale that sees his eyes explode to—moments and pages later—his whole body being consumed by flame, Firecracker experiences his life and loves through a succession of memories, reveals his friendship with Death, and talks about the men in his family’s unfortunate predisposition.
This is a yarn about life and death and spontaneous human combustion.
This is a tale of a man with a fire inside him.
At the End of the Day I Burst into Flames is a horror story about how beautiful love can be.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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