The Outskirts of Life

Cole Proto is clearly at home with themes of rage, alcoholism, death and disease, and they serve him well in his lurid, neo-noir tales. Brief and to the point like a chair across the back of the head, Proto’s stories quickly and effectively establish a demi-monde of two bit hustlers, hookers and death-obsessed freaks. The economy of his words is also pleasant change. Most writers would try and turn either of these short-short stories into longer psychological profiles, but Proto’s happy to just deliver the subplots, let the guts fall where they may and allow the reader concoct new scenarios for his antiheroes. Brief, visceral and cool. (SA)

Two Short Stories, 12 pages, $1, Cole Proto, Cathouse Press, Oshkosh, WI, 54903

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