Paul Greenberg’s Dead Guy in the Bathtub is a collection of short fiction with stories ranging from 500 to 4,000 words many of which were published in All Due Respect, Horror Sleaze Trash, Near to the Knuckle, Out of the Gutter/The Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Spelk, Switchblade, Thrills Kills & Chaos and Yellow Mama. And it is Greenberg’s shorter stories – the flash fiction – that pack the most punch. These stories are dispatches on life’s abruptness, not so much how life turns on a dime rather how life gets irrevocably changed as if a bowling dropped from a great height on one’s head.
The flash fiction in Dead Guy in the Bathtub doesn’t feel cramped. Greenberg gives us glimpses into the lives of the disenfranchised and then BLAMO – this is a right, classy review – everything is different. Greenberg is comfortable in the confines these small spaces and the only unease was when one story ballooned in word count. This is not much of a complaint since there are 22 stories in Dead Guy in the Bathtub and 21 of them are excellent.
Writing about Greenberg’s short story collection is difficult considering the shortness of the stories and any attempt at analyzing the work would only lead me down a spoiler path. Not going to happen. If your six-pack of beer is stories filled with sordidness, drugs, violence, destruction, and death then Paul Greenberg’s Dead Guy in the Bathtub is your sort of thing.