Book Review: '(dis)Comfort Food' by Brad Carter


In the introductory review to this book, I mentioned the general sense of the character of Rosie and it turns out that while there is a great deal more to Rosie than meets the eye, I wasn't far off.

There's a nice clarity to the writing, and it reads much like an informal biography. The use of the unseen interviewer is a nice touch, bringing the reader in to that position with questions from Mrs. Kirkland answered for the sake of the interviewer/reader.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Rosie is not as old as she first seems. In fact, she's only in her late fifties, early sixties. However, she considers it more than a little late to have discovered that she has extraordinary powers. Despite the lateness, she embraces her new power and new life.

It all started when her mother passed away and she met someone who claimed to have been a friend of the deceased. This woman, Vera Caldwell, baked her a casserole, what at first seems to be a standard dish to ease grief. Rosie soon learns that there is nothing standard about the dish or Vera.

Not long after, Rosie's life is upended, and she finds out things that she never thought possible.

I won't give away too much, but gore and death follow. Brad does a good job of spacing things out, however, so there's a lot of story in between the gore and destruction. We learn that Rosie really is at her core a compassionate person, but also one capable of horrible things. There's also some history of where her powers come from and how others have used that power. 

Overall, it was a very well-written novel. My only disappointment - and this is more of a personal preference rather than a failing of story - is how it ended. I wanted to see more going back to the intro. Still, things were tied up nicely and if a novel can be compared to a meal, (dis)Comfort Food was more satisfying than most of the tastiest casseroles I've ever had. 


Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!; and others. She has a BA in Cinematic Arts (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a former Fellow of Film Independent's Project:Involve.