Cindy Rosmus’s ANGEL OF MANSLAUGHTER Reviewed
By A.M. Stickel, 4.29-5.1.07
The ANGEL OF MANSLAUGHTER will slice and dice your spirit, then
feed you your thoughts in a spicy stew of 15 stories. Editor and author Cindy Rosmus opens her short-story selection with
one of the briefest introductions a reader will ever experience, her expression both sincere and funny. The tales introduced,
however, are serious stuff.
Rosmus’s hard-edged writing style is spontaneous, unpretentious,
and geared toward adults, rather than the 14-and-under set. The flavor is urban and blue-collar, rather than suburban and
white-collar, East Coast rather than West. This dark, sludgy slipstream—not mainstream—body of work, not literary
at all, is replete with deadly imagery.
“…only in Jersey can you smell it…of something
being barbecued alive.” (pg.60)
Story protagonists tend to
be seriously flawed sufferers in a claustrophobic milieu providing few happy endings. Among the plethora of characters, few
are trivial. Smoky, rundown neighborhood bars, sleazy apartments, sham weddings, and trashed parks are the backdrop for these
raw souls battling the demons of drugs, alcohol, parental neglect, and a variety of other evils. Knives, fists, and rape are
the weapons of choice, although invective runs a close second.
“‘I’m sicka this shit. I’m sicka you.’