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There were some fantastic stories in this collection. Others were meh, and a few had the expected "Orange Man Bad" jabs that of course have to make their way into any contemporary anthology. The nicotine theme was heavy in some stories and slight in others. Oddly, Akashic touts its mantra of publishing authors who have been ignored by the mainstream or who have rebelled against the big publishers, yet many of the writers in this anthology have sold a bajillion books through big publishers or are household entertainment names. Including more undiscovered writers would have been a plus for this anthology.
I like anthologies, so I was willing to take a chance on this one. That was an unfortunate decision. The stories meandered, were filled with quirky characters, and were sometimes entertaining but mostly not. In an anthology, you can get the crème, but you can also get the curdled milk. Most of these stories were tired, clichéd, and just plain boring. I wanted to like this collection. I wanted to be able to give it a 4 star. But, read it for yourself. Opinions vary. If you had to light it up, I’d say it was harsh, burned too quickly, and left a bad taste.