I've been wanting to read one of Edward Lorn's books for a while now and I have actually bought a couple of them but I just hadn't found the time to read any of them yet. Then I saw a review for No Such Thing and realized it was a short story so I thought it would be the perfect way to try out his writing so I grabbed the book and dug into it last night. Now I just want to state I have sort of a love/hate relationship with short stories. Any author can write a short story but not every author can write a good short story. There's a lot of reasons for this I think. Mainly I believe it's just so much harder to write a good short story than it is to write a good novel. You just have so much less to work with and it's hard to make someone really care about a character in just a few short pages.
No Such Thing is sort of a blend between Horror and Science Fiction and is very much a mad scientist tale and these aren't always my favorites either. I mean I seem to be the only one who hated The Re-Animator (Yeah I know, get line and give me a good kick but I truly did not like it). But still I wanted to try this book and the first thing I realized was that I did NOT like the main character. Johan Schmidt is just a pompous jerk and that's putting it nicely. At the start of the story he's giving a lecture and trying to get some investor's to part with their money by selling them his ideas on his research and quite frankly it's just not going very well for him and then after the lecture he's approached by a woman and asked if he'd like to meet her boss Eliot Von Lennon who is a highly respected scientist with a ton of money I might add so Johan accompanies her to see what he wants and Eliot Von Lennon offers him a huge sum of money to help him with a project he has going on and the rest is just pure insanity.
I'd love to get into the story more but I've probably given enough away as it is. I did not like Johan, he was pretty much a slimeball who's scientific practices would be considered highly unethical and dubious even if they're not strictly illegal. He seemed patronizing, rude, egotistical but he was highly intelligent and driven. His attitude towards women wasn't much better .... at least not in the beginning.
Even though I didn't like him the story started evolving and the tension set in. I found my heart rate increasing as this sense of dread just slowly overcame me. The amount of horror just kept increasing and by the end of the book I was literally sweating. I was horrified, shocked even and I thought the ending was simply brilliant. I still didn't care for Johan too much but he earned a great deal of respect from me at the end. Mainly I love this story because of how it made me feel. It made my skin crawl, it made me forget to breathe, it put me on the edge of my seat and it totally freaked me out. You just can't ask for much more than that. So I definitely give it 5 stars. I've read horror novels that couldn't do this to me in over 300 pages yet Edward Lorn managed to do all of that in around 30 so my hats off to Mr. Lorn.
Oh, there was also another very short story called The Red Crayon that was included and I loved this story too. Within the first couple of paragraphs I felt for the main character and all too sadly I could really relate to him. I'm not going to say anything because I don't want to ruin it but I will say that I imagine there have been many of us who felt exactly like that at one point or another in our lives. This story had a different type of dread to it that crept in when I wasn't looking and continually increased until the very last word.