JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD is a short collection of three stories that is highly entertaining and also serves as a great introduction to Anonymous-9's writing. Incredibly, this is the first time I've had the pleasure of reading this author's work but I can tell you now, very soon I shall be placing her other works near the top of the Reading List.
I came across this collection while searching for "weird" fiction to read for my "Year In Weird" feature. I knew Anonymous-9 as an acclaimed writer of mystery and noir fiction but the closing story here, "Dreaming Deep", is an homage to the old master himself, H.P. Lovecraft.
"Dreaming Deep" is a moody story that I feel nicely captures the atmosphere Lovecraftian fiction ought to have; a story where something dark and incomprehensible is happening off stage, yet still manages to permeate the action going on right before our eyes. What really happened to the young boy lost at sea? The local folk believe it to be the work of a serial killer but the boy's father knows the truth...and he is locked away in an asylum. It would be awesome if 9 decided to continue this story elsewhere, or at least write more in this genre; she is as adept here as she is in her noir fiction.
And speaking of which, let's talk about "Triangulation". I did predict the outcome of the story but still had a blast getting there. For being such a short piece, 9 still manages to build tension as she goes, and before you know it, sadly for we the readers, the story is over. I felt the way 9 has written here very cinematic and I could easily see this piece at home in a Tarantino movie.
"2,984,000 Pounds of Pressure" is the middle story in the collection and again, the suspense ratchets tighter and tighter as someone from the protagonist's past stumbles back into his life and he realizes whichever decision he is about to make will change his life forever. To say more would spoil the story but I have to say, I loved the final choice that the character makes.
JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD is a wonderful little gift that Anonymous-9 has given to us; as a thank you, as an introduction, as a reminder that she is someone to watch out for. Preferably over your shoulder, of course.