Book review: The Wrath of Concrete and Steel – John Claude Smith


I have been seeing some high praise for the works of John Claude Smith so I thought that it was time I investigated. I tend to buy ebooks more often than not, but when I saw the cover for this chapbook and read the title – I was sold.

I currently have a few books on the go but as I sat one day beside my computer looking at ‘The Wrath of Concrete and Steel’ I decided to have a quick look. Within minutes I was transported to a city where I followed a man called Jeff – a writer visiting his girlfriend (Regina). Strange things are afoot in this city. Its inhabitants are like zombies, simply going through the motions of living, always talking about a “meeting” and “the Land Lord”. The filth and decay that covers the city is bleak and utterly depressing. Smith’s first story in this collection is a grimy journey through a dark place where leaving is impossible. The city literally consumes you, leaving a shell of a human behind. The writing is top draw. Smith writes with a literary flair that is a pleasure to read and despite the dark nature of this story, I was utterly absorbed by it. A great start.

The next two stories were shorter, but punchy and again really well-written. ‘The Wrath of Concrete and Steel’ tells of a man doing the cities bidding by harvesting bodies and delivering them into the sewers below whilst the final tale – ‘The Wounded Table’ was really quite disturbing, containing some horrific imagery courtesy of Smith’s macabre words. This tale was also very sad and had a superb ending.

I see at lot of influences coming through in the writing of John Claude Smith but he still has an air of originality as well. To find three stories together of such strength shows a writer at the very top of his game. And long may it continue. Fans of dark, urban, weird horror will lap this up. My highest recommendation.

You can get ‘The Wrath of Concrete and Steel’ from here.

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