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review 2017-01-30 03:31
Odd Man Out - James Newman
Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle,James R. Newman,Ben Baldwin

We've all been there as a kid. You,me, all of us. Chances are we weren't the bully, but we were around when the bully picked his next victim - and we breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't us. Maybe the victims was the new kid. Maybe they dressed different or talked different. Maybe they stuttered or had Coke bottle glasses. Maybe they came from the wrong side of the tracks. It really didn't matter what the reason was that the bully (or bullies) decided to make them a target. That's how bullies operate. And when the bullying starts, they tend to demand that everyone join in with them against the poor bastard or take the chance of having their wrath fall upon you. Peer pressure. Nobody wants to be the victim and their mantra is "if you ain't with us, than you're against us". So, many a kid was sucked into the trap of aiding in the bullying when they really didn't want to. This is the dilemma Dennis finds himself in during summer camp when an old, boyhood friend of his, Wes, is found out that he's gay by the bullies in the group. And what they do Wes, on that lonely summer night in 1989 will chill your blood to ice and send a shiver down your spine.


Odd Man Out is an incredibly realistic tale told by Newman. I mean he absolutely nails it when describing the life of teenage boys in 1989. This story could've had me cast as Dennis, the unwilling participant that felt he had no other choice but to go through with their heinous act. I have a feeling that many of you will feel that you could've been Dennis too. And that's what makes Odd Man Out so effective. It touches a raw nerve because we all could've been unwilling participants in a bullying gone so wrong. An absolute perfect story that you won't be able to put down.



5 bloody hammers out of 5



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review 2016-12-28 16:59
Stunning and compelling
Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle,James R. Newman

As a student at Queens University Belfast in the mid 70's I was privileged to be selected to act as a "counsellor" on the Camp America scheme. I spent a very happy 10 weeks working with underprivileged kids at Camp Sebago just south of Portland  in the Pine Tree State of Maine. This was a very closed environment and it offered city kids the opportunity to mature and grow and hopefully develop into exemplary adults. In such an idyllic setting it was very obvious to me who the trouble makers were, who sought attention, who craved companionship, and who simply wanted to be left alone.


It all came flooding back to me in this excellent short story "Odd Man Out". That is certainly not to say that I encountered extremes of behaviour but I can appreciate how James Newman skilfully used the summer camp setting to show the ugly side of human nature. Dennis Munce "D-Man" is spending the summer at Black Mountain Camp for Boys with his best childhood friend Wesley Westmore. It is indicated that Wesley has a secret, and something that he wishes to remain hidden in this boys will be boys setting...."We knew Wesley was not like us, even though we couldn't explain what we meant when we were nine or ten" In any group there are those egotistical individuals who seek to strengthen their peer standing by searching out those they see as weak or "different" and quite simply destroying them. What follows is a shocking example of the lowest form of human behaviour, why sometimes it is best not to remain silent in the face of evil, to act and put right and not just to follow!


James Newman is certainly one of the best authors I have been introduced to in my long association with "goodreads" a social networking site for booklovers. His writing is thoughtful, articulate and a joy to read quite simply he is an excellent story teller. Odd Man Out is one of best novellas I have had the pleasure to read this year, a story that paints a bleak picture of humanity but one that needs to be read if we are to fully understand and alter the way we view those who do not adhere to what we perceive as the norm.

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text 2016-12-27 12:50
Char's Horror Corner Top 5: Novellas Read in 2016
Detritus in Love - Mercedes M. Yardley,John Boden
The Sadist's Bible - Nicole Cushing
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
Last Train from Perdition (I Travel By Night) - Robert R. McCammon
Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle,James R. Newman


Here are my top 5 novellas of the year. This was the toughest category for me this year. I read a ton of excellent novellas, so it was difficult to whittle this list down to the top 5, but I finally did it. 


Here they are in no particular order, (click the title to see my original review):


Detritus in Love by Mercedes Yardley and John Boden. This was a beautifully written surreal tale that you won't soon forget. It's affordable and quick to read. What are you waiting for? You can get your copy here: Detritus in Love


The Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing. This fearless novella brings the reader to places they may not want to have gone-but when they're done they are left to marvel over the insanity of it.  And I mean that in the best way possible. You can get your copy here: The Sadist's Bible


The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. This is another beautifully written piece which totally blew me away. I have a couple of more LaValle books that moved WAY up in my TBR after reading this one. My HIGHEST recommendation! You can find your copy here:

The Ballad of Black Tom


Last Train From Perdition by Robert McCammon. Featuring my favorite cover of the year, this novella is part two of the Trevor Lawson trilogy. (The third is not yet available, the first being I Travel By Night. (Click to read my review.) Part gunslinger, part problem solver, and ALL vampire, (be it reluctantly), this novella kicked all kinds of ass. I mean, seriously, what is NOT fun about gunslinging vampires on a train??

You can find a copy here: Last Train From Perdition


Odd Man Out by James Newman is such a perfect story for this time in American history. It's so perfect, it's scary.  As a teenager, were you ever coerced by your friends to take part in something you did not feel comfortable with? Did you stand up and say no or did you go along to get along? Do you feel differently about your actions today? Beginning with a church meeting regarding Boy Scouts and ending with a very different type of religious afterword, Odd Man Out is squeezing on your heart the entire time.  It was a touching, moving, emotional story that I know I will read again in the future, just because it is that powerful. Please go and get a copy here: Odd Man Out



I guess that's it then, for my favorite novellas of the year. It was a difficult decision, but I'm happy with how it all came out. If you decide to try any of these yourself, I would love to hear your thoughts about them!


Thanks for visiting Char's Horror Corner and I hope we can meet up again in 2017 for some more dark fiction greats!

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review 2016-12-08 14:24
Review of Odd Man Out by James Newman
Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle,James R. Newman

Odd Man Out by James Newman is for the faint of heart. It's for the bigots and the racists and it's also for the humanitarians, for people who do their best to be good people. It's for anyone who has ever had oxygen in their lungs and blood in their veins. It's a story that could be yours or mine...


It's a story of summer camp in the late 80's; of a group of teenage boys all vying to be leader of the pack, or at least not the lowest ranked; of that awkward stage when they're not quite children but not yet men. One of them has a secret and it's about to call into question everything they and perhaps you believe.


If there is one book that every person should have to read, this is the one. Everyone reads The Diary of Anne Frank, which shows you hate on a larger scale. Odd Man Out is that same hate but on a smaller scale and much closer to home. It's a hate that every minority, every disabled person, every person with any definable characteristic that can be singled out has to worry about whenever they leave their house, open their mouth, let their guard down... because their existing may offend the wrong person at the wrong time.


I am not new to James' name, as he's obviously big in the horror genre. However, as someone who only this year got around to reading my first book by him, I can already tell you that I love his writing style and will hopefully be adding to my Newman pile very soon.


I received a copy of this directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.


© 2016 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

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review 2016-12-06 19:14
Odd Man Out by James Newman
Odd Man Out - Pete Kahle,James R. Newman


It is with tears in my eyes that I finish this novella.


As an important church vote looms, Dennis suddenly remembers with clarity an incident from his childhood. All of a sudden, the reader is transported to the Black Mountain Camp for Boys.


During this one week summer camp, an atrocity is committed. One that will haunt Dennis, the other boys, and this reader. I doubt I will ever be able to forget Dennis or his former best friend, Wesley. Maybe I am not meant to. You're not meant to forget it either.


"We build walls to keep us separate, and when those walls eventually crumble and fall we blame the other for chipping away at the foundations. We point fingers right up until the moment we are crushed beneath the weight of our own intolerance. Everyone loses. In the end we all bleed red."


Timely quote there, isn't it?


Odd Man Out gets my highest recommendation. You should read it.


You can buy your copy here: Odd Man Out

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