{Book Review} Soaking in Strange Hours: A Tristan Grieves Fragment: Erik Hofstatter

Soaking in Strange Hours: A Tristan Grieves Fragment: Erik Hofstatter

Reviewed By J.A. Sullivan

If you are casually flicking through radio stations you will occasionally find a voice that’s immediately recognizable, even if you’ve never heard that particular song before. These are typically the artists that don’t conform to expectations and the only box they fit into is the one they create for themselves. Author Erik Hofstatter is exactly like that. Reading his unique poetic prose always captures my imagination and transports me to dangerous new worlds few other writers can put into words.

Hofstatter’s latest release, ‘Soaking in Strange Hours: A Tristan Grieves Fragment’ is a short story of approximately 22 pages, but the layers of storytelling through the use of dynamic characters, complex imagery, and a gritty plot, all make this tale feel much more expansive than the word count implies.

Tristan Grieves lives on the fringe of undesirables “in a city the color of gargoyles.” A pimp, a drunk, and addicted to redheads, Tristan can’t refuse Liene’s request to find someone she calls Boomerang, a man she always throws away, but who has always returned, except for this time. As someone who knows “the city’s every stain” Tristan accepts her proposition, however as the story progresses, we see that Tristan might be both hunter and prey.

From the opening of the story, you immediately see that none of these players is a clear victim or perpetrator. Every character is a bit of both, covered in grime so thick you can almost taste it. But as unpleasant as the characters are, there’s something about them drawing the reader closer, wanting to know all their filthy skeletons.

As with all of Hofstatter’s work, it’s difficult to find a genre label that fits ‘Soaking in Strange Hours’ but as author Ray Cluley described it ‘strange noir’ probably defines it best. There are elements of crime noir, horror, transgressive fiction, and even hints of epic poetry, which all harmonize together to create something altogether new. This is the kind of story for people who love words and who love to soak in multifaceted metaphors. To get the most out of this fiction you need to linger in its passages and I’d even suggest several re-reads to truly dissect the contents.

From the first time I read Hofstatter’s work I’ve been hooked on his unique approach to fiction, and I hope to submerse myself in more of his dark worlds again soon.

Soaking In Strange Hours

Tristan Grieves is an unwashed soul, in a city the colour of gargoyles.

Liene, a girl with eyes that drank from every ocean asks for help to find Boomerang—a boy she throws away but who always returns. Until he vanishes.

They search together, but where is she leading him?

You can buy Soaking In Strange Hours from Amazon UK & Amazon US

J.A. Sullivan

J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.

As curator of “Scary’s Voices” on Kendall Reviews, an article series reviewing horror podcasts, Sullivan loves listening to all things spooky. If you have a horror podcast recommendation, let her know.

On top of contributing short stories to Kendall Reviews, her fiction has appeared in Don’t Open the Door (2019), It Came From The Darkness (2020), and she acted as an assistant editor for Black Dogs, Black Tales (2020). Other spooky tales and updates on her writing journey can be found on her blog.

You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan

Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

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