Cripple Wolf by Jeff Burk is a series of short stories, all in the bizarro subgenre. I don’t know how I would characterize them, which is probably one of my problems with it. The stories are as follows.
Cripple Wolf: The title story. Basically werewolves on a plane.
Cook For Your Life: A tribute to Iron Chef. And Soylent Green.
House of Cats: A homeless man builds a house of live cats. But is it up to code?
Adrift with Space Badgers: Kind of like the Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” but with badgers. And space whales.
Punk Rock Nursing Home: What happens to punk rockers when they get old?
Just Another Day in the Park: This one is weird, and honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of it.
It’s kind of funny and somewhat clever the way Burk peppers some advertisements for his other books or other bizarro authors’ works within the stories. And, strangely, it’s not jarring. It actually fits with the tone of each story. I have to give kudos to Burk for that one. He’s missed his calling as a product placement specialist.
The stories are generally good. The title story and Cook For Your Life were my personal favorites among the bunch. But there’s a couple nagging problems here.
The first and foremost is the editing. I’m sorry, and I know that I nitpick this a lot, but clean editing is really essential to me, and there’s enough grammar problems throughout that didn’t get caught that they pulled me out of the story. It one of those things that really sticks in my craw.
The problem is that, while the stories are enjoyable, there’s not a whole lot that really stands out. It’s that I didn’t like the stories. I did, but if you asked me for many details now, I would be hard pressed to come up with many, although you will be hard pressed to find another book that contains the line “I think a baby werewolf just stole our coke.” They’re not bad at all, but they also don’t really stand out much for me. Combine that with the editing problems, and I’m forced to give this book a middle of the road review.
Cripple Wolf by Jeff Burk earns 3 coked-up baby werewolves out of 5.