October 12, 2010

People Live Still in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess Review

by Tony Burgess
ChiZine Publications
Review done by Dana Bell
Review Posted: 10/12/2010

A chilling and sometimes confusing fictional look into the mind of a mass murderer loosely based on an actual case. Mr. Clark, for no reason that he can fathom, goes on a killing spree in a small town. The first is someone he doesn't know and thankfully, the reader is spared the grisly details. The second is also a woman told in cold specifics. The third is simply shot inside his own car.

Fearing he is about to be caught after revealing is secret to his gas station employee; Bob flees through a cornfield where he experiences a type of 'rebirth'. After emerging on the other side he is ready to kill yet again. This time, his victims are a family living in an old Victorian house. The mother and grandmother are shot while preparing breakfast. He prowls the interior of their home and readies himself, although unwillingly, to murder the children when they come from school. When the deeds are done, he lays the bodies out in the ballroom cocooned in sleeping bags.

Later, guilt ridden, Bob fools himself into thinking one of the children survived his attempt. First he hears noises as if someone is walking around. Second, he finds one of the sleeping bags empty. Third, there is music and when he investigates he finds a damp towel in the bathroom. Fourth he has a conversation with her and apologizes for trying to shot her. She leaves for school and he disposes of the bodies of her family behind the house.

The delusion goes on for days. He calls the school to check on her and talks to teachers on how she's doing in class. He's told not well and how did she get that gash in her forehead? Also, she wasn't eating. He tries to feed her and blood comes out of her mouth. Eventually, he tires of her company and again, brutally, murders her.

Although a somewhat interesting account, there are many confusing aspects to the book. The wandering from subject to subject in the first chapter does not entice the reader to continue further. Once the story starts often the main character goes off on a tangent that seems to have nothing to do with main plot and doesn't really explain the motive or reason behind the killing spree.

Perhaps 'People still live in Cashtown Corners' makes a type of sense to those familiar with the original case, but the reviewer can not recommend this book to readers.