Gene ONeill: Taste of the Tenderloin



Ost Patrol is not necessarily a traditional story with a beginning middle and end Instead it s a character profile short but vivid with a delicate stretch of story surrounding it Like an appetizer there s not much here but enough to get a good taste of what s to comeNext comes Magic Words an old school urban fantasy tale of dark magic and a mysterious homeless woman who one night taking only a promise for the future as payment gives a man the exact words he needed to move forward in his life Unlike a lot of other stories this one doesn t try to present a be careful what you ask for moral Instead it ust presents itself as it is adding an element of mysticism to the Tenderloin Tombstones in His Eyes tackles the overlapping tales of the unkies on the street using some very interesting symbolism Again O Neill doesn t so much tell a story as present a character and their tale in the good and bad for the reader s viewing Bushido is also lovely the tale of a man who finds salvation in the streets walking alongside doom But the imagery and the climax bear a strong resemblance to the previous tale and so it lessens some of the impact Balance follows a vet suffering from a disconnect with reality It s hard to watch Declan s version of getting control over the world around him since he can t seem to control his own brain functions But this story like the other so far is present unflinchingly with little effort to make the reader sympathize with the characters Instead O Neill ust beckons you to come and listenWith The Apotheosis of Nathan McKee O Neill ties the people of the Tenderloin and the stories in this collection together firmly making each minor barely mentioned character the owner of their own story Nathan interchangeable with the attack victim in Bushido discovers a beating has left him not only for with a complete lack of desire for the booze he used to drug himself but it s given him a uniue ability Only he s not uite sure what to do with it The first overall positive tale without a bittersweet touch it possesses a delicate aspect of intriguing urban fantasyIn Bruised Soul Mickey D an ex boxer abandoned to the streets by time and suffering from damage taken through the length of his career hits the streets after a stint in a mental facility only to discover the good things have gotten that much worse in his absence and the bad things of course never change It s his new neighbor that piues his interest this time around an exotic woman named Jenna who seems to have a peculiar ability Threaded Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered just as finely is an end uestion what is real and what has Micky D imagined without the heavy handedness of other storiesFinally is 5150 the first first person story in the collection Here the lead might not seem like a true member of the Tenderloin but by the sad shattering end of this cop s life you can see every character story so far caught up in this one tale Readers should be warned that these characters seem fleshy and real their tales often dark and hopeless It is easy to get pulled into the hopeless feeling of this collectionTaste of Tenderloin is a tight network of precise details and emotion presented but firmly held back from influencing the reader in each story A delicate balance of realism surrealism and uniue storytelling makes it a compelling read A Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O Neil is a series of eight stories which all take place in the Tenderloin district The Tenderloin district is the roughest neighborhood in San Francisco and one could find plenty for real tales that take place here that could raise the hairs on the back of your neck but Mr O Neil takes it a step further and adds an element of the supernatural to each of his stories His stories range from down and out drunks and drug addicts to people who have already given up on life The common thread of desperation clings to each tale and they are all set against the backdrop of poverty and hair trigger violence Before you are twenty pages into the book you realize that the Tenderloin is no place that anyone wants to find themselves in Despite the gloomy backdrop many of O Neil s stories revolve around the concept of redemption I found these the most interesting What would a drunk do if he suddenly lost the compulsion to drink What would it take for aunky to set down his needle Would each high sending him into a horrible nightmare be enough These supernatural twists on addiction were fresh and interesting new concepts and not your standard horror far Overall I found the book and its stories inventive entertaining and often uite disturbing Read my review at FeoAmanteco. Wn and out The city itself opens wide to swallow all comers with the temptation of its secrets and sins while O'Neill brings dignity and humanity to a set of characters often overlooked in both society and fictio.

Read in 2009TOCi Acknowledgmentsii Introduction1 Lost Patrol13 Magic Words27 Tombstones In His Eyes47 Bushido63 Balance79 The Apotheosis of Nathan Mckee101 Bruised Soul119 5150142 Afterword145 Bios I got this because it won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Collection I wanted to read some decent horror and this is set in the Tenderloin which contains some of my favorite areas in San Francisco In particular I love the theatre district where many theatres rub up against dive bars and strip clubs in an uneasy alliance There are some cool buildings here and Dashiell Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon The Tenderloin is its place not cleaned up and prettified for the tourists and the yuppies San Francisco needs of that frankly otherwise it The Wedding Band (Save the Date, just feels like a big clean amusement parkThe stories in this wereust okay for me There were too many stories that were or less the same story and I found that irritating I actually preferred the brief mention of various recurring Tenderloin characters to the actual stories It was all too predictable for me Also bothersome were some repeated inaccuracies mainly that Wild Irish Rose is whiskey It s not whiskey it s heavily fortified wine I know this because it was liuor of choice for many of the hardcore alcoholics that freuented the Walgreen s in the Student Ghetto in Albuuerue They drank it every day of the week except for Sundays when alcohol wasn t sold and they bought and drank ListerineThis wasn t terrible it was Chinas Search for Democracy just too repetitious for me to really enjoy it but it has its moments Not terrible not greatust okay Taste of Tenderloin is comprised of eight uniue stories based on life in the underbelly of San Francisco All of the stories are connected as they take place in the same neighborhood and a recurring character pops up throughout to help show this connection The language that O Neill writes in is rich and vivid showing he is a strong storyteller but there was something about the stories in this particular collection that didn t grab me All of the stories seem to end in doom and gloom and left me saddened after reading them I guess maybe I Imaginary Citizens just needed a happy ending while reading this book and was disappointed over and over again This is definitely not a good book to be reading on an already gloomy dayContains Violence Adult Language Adult SituationsReview also posted at MonsterLibrariancom Back in the mid 70s I went to San Francisco for a week and stayed at a hotel in the Union Suare area I did a lot of walking and wandered into a nearby seedy area while I was trying to find The Great American Music Hall where I planned to see McCoy Tyner in concert later that night I was fascinated by the worn down vibes of the area Even the bums were interesting I also managed to find a dynamite German restaurant that knew how to make a mean schnitzel I told a friend I spent most of the day wandering in what I was told was the Tenderloin District she screamed YOU WHAT According to her I was lucky to still be aliveI ve gone back there during my occasional trips to San Francisco and while I m a lot cautious I still think it is one of interesting areas of the city The Tenderloin has bravely resisted urban gentrification and still has incredible eating places now mostly Vietnamese since part of the Tenderloin is now called Little Saigon There are some good places to hear music and for you seedy people the notorious Mitchell Brothers stripoint is still going strong I ve never set foot in the place myself Honestly But the real attraction of the Tenderloin is that its dirty streets still evoke the sleazy charm of Dashiell Hammett s gritty detective storiesGene O Neill seems to like the Tenderloin as much as I do He wrote a collection of eight loosely connected short stories about the area and its residents All fall into the supernaturalhorror genre yet it is the author s detail to characterization that set the tales apart Each story is a character study of the unfortunate personalities that make the Tenderloin their home Hookers Drug Addicts small time cons All are given a sensitive but honest appraisal by the author This is a very downbeat book grim and realistic despite its supernatural plots Gene O Neill has written a very different set of horror tales but he is also deserving of recognition as a notable regional writer of the Bay Area I understand he has some novels that take place in the same area I will be checking them out Having visited San Francisco and its infamous Tenderloin this book caught my eye That district has a distinctive air of desperation and damage and I hoped that Mr O Neill would be Eight stories of dark science fiction and fantasy weave a path through the underbelly of San Francisco's most notorious district in Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill Best known for his strong sense of place and.

Ble to capture itWell he has PerfectlyThis attractive little book from Apex Publications contains 8 exceptional tales all set in the Tenderloin in which we meet some interesting and broken people My favourites included Tombstones in his Eyes in which an addict attempts to hoodwink a terrifying new dealer on the block Balance features an obsessed Vietnam vet on a homicidal mission of restoring order to the world In Bushido a hideously scarred homeless man meets Samurai culture in a story of guilt and redemption I ll also mention The Apotheosis of Nathan McKee Here a middle aged drunk discovers he has powers of invisibility in a tale with a rare light hearted tone But there isn t a single weak link in this collectionWith such a niche theme I feared it could become samey On the contrary while the flavour and atmosphere of the Tenderloin is present throughout I actually yearned for once the last story was concluded The evocation is so strong I could smell the trash feel the drug sweat against my skin taste the Wild Irish Rose whiskeyThere are several recurring characters such as the legless bum Short Stuff and Sweet Jane the prostitute who features upon the beautiful cover They provide a very human and reassuring familiarity to the deprivation But it is the loin itself that is the antihero of the book a character in itselfEven if urban superntural horror is not to your taste I would still recommend Taste of Tenderloin It is written in a leisurely uncluttered style that engages immediately whether the tales begin with a bang or a whisper Gene O Neill has presented us with a small but perfectly formed fictionalisation of one of the western world s most fascinating city districts and the lost souls that populate it Enjoy I have walked through the Tenderloin in San Francisco a couple times Now I wish I had paid attention to this small and interesting neighborhood I also wish I had paid attention to Gene O Neill the author of this thin and instense collection of themed horror fictionThe stories themselves are varied and diverse but the thread that holds tightly together is the setting of the Tenderloin neighborhood The tenderloin business association probably wont endorse this book I sure as hell will O Neill is a a talented writer who drilled almost every single one of these stories straight out of the parkApex publishing also has a hit here with it s second excellent collection in one yearMamma s boy by Fran Friel The strongest story of this collection is a story the Magic Words which I feel captures the tone of a twilight zone episode better than any new short story I ve read in sometime The opening story is also uite strong as well and touches on a recurring theme the tenderloin s veterans of war Vietnam Desert Storm and Afghanistan The Bram Stoker award nominated story balance is the strongest of the Vet stories and is an important piece of socio political horror I recently met Gene O Neill at a Brian Keene signing event in San Francisco and he may be one of the nicest people I have ever met He was gracious enough to speak with me for a while and talk books which was super cool I felt bad though because I had never read his work so I had to remedy that immediately Glad I did too because in addition to being a really genuine nice guy he can also write terrific stories If you can call the tales in Taste of the Tenderloin terrific Maybe a better description would be extremely well written and bleak These stories of the desperate conditions and people of the tenderloin put the dark in dark fiction Since I go into San Francisco for work on occasion I am familiar with the tenderloin areas that Gene describes so well in his stories You can smell the body odor stale piss and Night Train on the pages That was a compliment btw Every big city has these parts where the forgotten or ust plain rotten hang out and live Most suffering from mental illness that they try and self medicate with drugs and booze Talking to themselves and trying to keep their distance or worse yet trying to get too close It is a tragic strange and brutal place That s life in the loin And that s the stories that you will find herein If you re looking for feel good redemptive tales then this may not be your bag If you re looking for the dark in dark fiction then you should pick this one up Not a sour short in the bunch Despite the flavorful title Gene O Neill s Taste of Tenderloin doesn t feature eight stories dedicated to culinary tales but instead it s his ode to the San Francisco Tenderloin District bent on making the area a vivid magical place all its ownThe first story Uniuely vibrant characters O'Neill brings the gritty underside of the city to life with eight interwoven stories of broken lives missed dreams and all that can go wrong with both reality and fantasy among the do.

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KINDLE BOOK Taste of the Tenderloin author Gene ONeill – ecogenlife.org