For several years now, I’ve been seeing the name Marcus Sakey on crime fiction blogs, being mentioned as one of the best new novelists in the genre. But I hadn’t read any of his work except for one short story that appeared in the anthology THRILLER 2, which I liked (and which is reprinted in this collection, by the way).
SCAR TISSUE is a collection of seven stories, all of them previously published but new to me, except for the one mentioned above. It’s also proof positive that yes, I do need to be reading Sakey’s novels, because they’re all excellent stories.
SCAR TISSUE is subtitled “Stories of Love and Wounds”, and that’s a good description. Everyone in these stories is wounded in some way, some by war, some by crime, some by love. Not surprisingly, they’re pretty dark and grim yarns, except for one, “Cobalt”, a story about Y2K that manages to be both dark and very funny. “The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away”, the story that first appeared in THRILLER 2, is about the aftermath of the Iraq War and two soldiers who are similar in some ways but very different in others. It’s very effective and probably my favorite in the collection, but they’re all good.
All these stories are told in tough, unsentimental prose, and I like the way Sakey uses short scenes that jump back and forth in time. Usually I don’t care much for that technique, but he makes it work very well.
SCAR TISSUE is an ebook that’s available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the other usual places on the Web. I read it on the Kindle. It also includes excerpts from Sakey’s four published novels and an advance look at his next novel. This is a fine collection and well worth reading.