by Mike O'Driscoll
Cover Artist: Rik Rawling
Review by Sam Tomaino
TTA Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780955368356
Date: 01 November 2012 List Price £6.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The kind folks at TTA`Press have sent me a copy of the first in their series of TTA Novellas, Eyepennies by Mike Driscoll. The story is written as a tribute to musician Mark Linkous who died in 2010.
Eyepennies concerns an aging country-rocker named Mark who has had some rough times. Growing up he lived through the breakup of his parents, becoming involved with a motorcycle gang when still a teenager, being sent to live with his grandmother, the death of his sister from meningitis, the suicide of a friend. He eventually became a successful rocker, married a good woman named Tess, and got a house in the country.
A little more than a year ago, he took a combination of booze and heroin and was clinically dead for four minutes. When he passed out he rested on his legs so that they were cut off from blood flow and he almost lost them.
He has made a recovery but something is wrong. He hasn't written any songs in a while but when Tess gives him some stuff he had been working on, he starts writing again. But when listening to his old records, he starts to hear something that he hadn't heard in them before. He has nightmares and pushes Tess away to protect her. Things get worse until an almost foregone conclusion.
This had many unsettling images and some truly horrifying scenes. The theme of pennies on the eyes (to pay your passage to the next world) is present and used effectively. This is a good start to the TTA Novellas series and I will be looking forward to future tales. I highly recommend this one.