Some Kind Words

"Lick the Knife" (unpublished)
We really appreciate you sharing your work with us. "Lick the Knife" was perhaps the most discussed story our readers and editors evaluated. —West Texas Review

"An Eye for an Eye"
When I first read “Eye for an Eye” by Russell Helms, I thought there’d be no way I would include it in the review—it grossed me out. But then I found myself thinking about it days later, and I knew I had changed my mind. In it, Tristan tries to avoid his high school lab partner whose eye he poked out in class. Later, in college, she taunts him and makes him watch as she plays with her eye socket:
With her fingers she spread the lids apart. A pink wet muscle. She poked her finger in there. She looked at the objects in her lap. She picked up a pocketknife and slid it in, wincing. With an accident as horrible as that, how long are you indebted? —

"The Miracle of Mrs. Evelyn Howard"
Wowser. An incredible story of intrigue, drama, tension and insatiable disgust. A writer in complete control of his subject, who does not need to withhold the shocking crux of this story for a big wham at the end. —

"What Glenda Wanted"
“What Glenda Wanted” has squalor, all right, but calm and dignified it ain’t, not with fleshy spiders and a tornado. —Bewildering Stories

Sprinkle Cheese (novel)
If this is Russell Helm's first effort at the novel, there's hope for literary fiction. His protagonist, Bobby Hartwig, in "The Ground Catches Everything" is reminiscent of Toole's Ignatius J. Reilly in all the comedic ways, but it's never over the top or ridiculous. The comedy works as dark humor throughout this fine novel. Hartwig encounters obstacle after obstacle and the plot never lets up. It's a rambunctious read. The brief trip to Thailand is heartbreaking in its own right, and the novel doesn't let up once Hartwig reaches Alabama. It's obvious that Helms has a background in the medical field, as his fiction has vivid descriptions regarding health and recovery. If you're looking for a unique, highly enjoyable addition to the Western canon of literature read this - now! It's cold outside, and this book can be read indoors. Do it. —

Witty, sharp, and refreshingly off-beat. Helms is great at building a story that is literary and entertaining at the same time. Like a magic act, the story appears from thin air and materializes before your eyes. —

I really enjoyed this book. Once I started I could not put it down. —