Shoebox Train Wreck

ISBN: 9781927469057
eISBN: 9781926851549

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The living haunt the dead . . .

These sixteen genre-bending stories are set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further. A young girl takes a journey to see what is really hidden within the belly of an ancient water tower. A high school senior learns about defiance on a school bus and witnesses a tragedy that he won't soon forget. Six survivors in an underground bunker discuss the possibility of Armageddon being an elaborate hoax. Two brothers take a walk on the dark side of the wheat field and discover that some bonds are stronger than death. And in the title story, a former train conductor must confront the ghosts of his past while learning that it's not the dead who haunt the living, but the other way around.

Traversing the back roads of the south and beyond, these stories probe the boundaries of imagination, taking the reader to the fringes of a society where the world looks different, and once you visit, you won't ever be the same.

Reviews of Shoebox Train Wreck:

Just good, spare, bleak storytelling, and some haunting images that will stick with readers like the kid at the end of the road.
—Publishers Weekly
John Mantooth explores the grittier nuances of the human psyche in this collection of deranged short stories. Both imaginatively realistic and believably supernatural, the included selections hone in on the more psychological aspects of horror. The title tale features a train conductor haunted both by his past, and the ghosts of the children that he was responsible for killing. A heady and unsettling read.
Rue Morgue Magazine
[T]he genre-bending SXSW gothic noir pulp fiction stories inside the package are good. Like really good.
—Broken Pencil
Mantooth tests his characters, through temptation and disaster; it is a grim joy to watch them fall, or claw their way through the storm to glimpse a clear sky. Immoral or righteous, they are human and beautiful in all their darkness . . . . Perhaps the most interesting thing about this book is the variety and Mantooth’s ability to leave no doubt these stories belong in the same collection. This display of humanity is beautifully written and thought-provoking, and yet remains devoid of the saccharin to which such works can fall victim.
The prose is precise, detached and clips along at a compelling pace. The characters are strange, but familiar, all bound by tragic narratives and often fatal mistakes.
—Broken Pencil
The best thing about this collection is despite it's shadowed nature . . . . it's not needlessly grim. Often, collections like these boast stories ending in despair and pointlessness, offering no resolution of any kind. That doesn't happen here. These stories feature broken, confused, wandering souls. But many of them find a kind of resolution or peace, or, at the very least, discover the hope of such peace. And that lifts this collection above many others.
Following the styles and themes of Barry Gifford and Cormac McCarthy, these stories would find a home on the big screen under the directorial hand of Tarantino, Wenders, or (early) Van Sant. The prose is precise, detached and clips along at a compelling pace.
—Broken Pencil

eShorts

These single stories from this collection are available for individual purchase:

A Long Fall into Nothing by John Mantooth

A bus driver’s route gets increasingly closer to the edge of a long drop while a young man deals with a bully and the shadow of his violent past. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look

$0.99

The Water Tower by John Mantooth

A young girl takes a journey to see what is really hidden within the belly of an ancient water tower. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories

$0.99

Halloween Comes to County Rd. Seven by John Mantooth

An out of work family man stays over at his drug-dealing buddy’s house one too many times. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection

$0.99

Walk the Wheat by John Mantooth

Two brothers take a walk on the dark side of the wheat field and discover that some bonds are stronger than death. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine

$0.99

This is Where the Road Ends by John Mantooth

A man is finally faced with the consequences of his actions from years before as he discovers some mistakes can’t be buried. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in th

$0.99

Shoebox Train Wreck by John Mantooth

A former train conductor must confront the ghosts of his past while learning that it’s not the dead that haunt the living, but the other way around. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Lo

$0.99

The Best Part by John Mantooth

Two friends try to pull off a small-time heist, but recruit the wrong person to drive the getaway van. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short storie

$0.99

Slide by John Mantooth

A man remembers a troubling incident from his youth and learns that one way or another everyone slides. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stori

$0.99

Saving Doll by John Mantooth

A track star must find a way to run past her family and their history of drugs and denial. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection

$0.99

On the Mountain by John Mantooth

In order to save his sister and niece, a man must make a trip into the mountains where life is lived closer to the bone and violence can erupt without warning. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary

$0.99

The Cecilia Paradox by John Mantooth

Six survivors in an underground bunker discuss the possibility of Armageddon being an elaborate hoax. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories

$0.99

Chicken by John Mantooth

A high school senior learns about defiance on a school bus and witnesses a tragedy that he won’t soon forget. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short

$0.99

James by John Mantooth

The story of three outsiders named James and their repeated attempts to fit in. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build y

$0.99

Litany by John Mantooth

A school bus driver deals with the fallout from the worst decision of his life. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build y

$0.99

Sucky by John Mantooth

A young boy finds the way to connect with his father in, of all places, the bathroom tub. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection

$0.99

Thirteen Scenes from Your Twenty-Fourth Year by John Mantooth

The pain of loss in thirteen scenes. From Shoebox Train Wreck, this short story is one in a collection of sixteen genre-bending tales set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, and populated by characters whose circumstances and longings drive them to the point of no return . . . and sometimes even further.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build your digital library.

$0.99

Other Reviews

goodreads 4.32/5 stars more...

Author Info

John Mantooth is an award-winning author whose short stories have been recognized in numerous year's best anthologies. His short fiction has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Crime Factory, Thuglit, and the Stoker-winning anthology, Haunted Legends (Tor, 2010), among others. He's represented by Beth Fleisher of Clear Sailing Creatives, and he's a founding member of the semi-notorious writing group Snutch Labs. His first book, Shoebox Train Wreck, was released in March of 2012 from ChiZine Publications. His debut novel, The Year of the Storm, is slated for a June 2013 release from Berkley. He lives in Alabama with his wife, Becky, and two children.