review

Bookshop Hunter Column at FIVE:2:ONE Magazine

I've been seeking out bookshops and reviewing them at my other blog, The Bookshop Hunter, for a few months now. It has been a blast, and now I have a column over at FIVE:2:ONE Magazine about my bookshop hunting trips around upstate New York, NYC, and beyond. In this first column, "The Bookshop Hunter: Electric City and Beyond," I explore Schenectady, NY and other nearby towns. FIVE:2:ONE is an weird-baby consortium of awesome writers, reviewers, poets, columnists, artists, and plenty more. They always have something new going on and I highly recommend you check them out!   

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My Top 10 Books of 2016

My Top 10 Books of 2016

While I read fewer books than usual in 2016, this annual edition of my Top 10 lists covers a fairly broad range of styles—a rock & roll bio, some YA classics, poetry, apocalypse lit, historical nonfiction, crime, noir, and more. Despite being a pretty miserable year, the good books kept me going. As usual for these lists, I only include books I’ve read for the first time in 2016, but the books can be from any year, brand new or decades old, so long as they’re new to me. I’d love to know what your favorites were this year as well, so feel free to add those in the comments section! Most of all, I hope you enjoy these if you haven’t yet tried them for yourself.

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The Review Review's Review of Drunk Monkeys Gives My Short Story "The Philanthropist" a Nod

In a review of Drunk Moneys first full issue of poetry and prose, The Review Review mentioned my short story "The Philanthropist" as a notable story within the collection. In calling out the story, The Review Review says it is one of the many in the issue that blurs the line between coincidence and circumstance, responsibility and guilt. The main character in the story is torn about what to do with the last of his tainted money from a heist job in which he gets screwed over by a criminal higher up in the food chain. He needs the money, but it reminds him of his stupidity, his guilt, his shame. He tries various ways to excise this guilt and rid himself of his money, before finally doing so in a most unexpected way. And The Review Review said, "There is something visceral in the relief that the protagonist feels in Duncan’s “The Philanthropist,” after he rids himself of his burden, something animal in his desire for simplicity." Check out the story and all the other great pieces found at Drunk Monkeys. Many thanks to The Review Review for taking the time to read the issue!  

Ranked: Every Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Album

Ranked: Every Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Album

From so-so to legendary, because there are no “bad” Tom Petty albums!!

My number #2 band always fluctuates between The Replacements, Tom Waits, and Ryan Adams, but my overall #1 ever since I was a little kid has always been and will always be Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. TP has a knack for crafting that 3 minute rock song that is both radio friendly (well, back when radio mattered) and also tells a story. That’s what I love about the band the most: their storytelling, little fictions that speak to realities. With guitars. Really loud guitars. Sometimes soft ones, too. All good stuff. Enough chit-chat. Here’s my ranking, from passable to great.   

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A New Review of What Lies In Wait Now at Buffalo Almanack

The right honorable David S. Atkinson has written a wonderful review of my new short story collection What Lies In Wait, now posted over at Buffalo Almanack, and I'm very happy that David reviewed the book because I really feel like he gets what I was going for in the collection. In his own words:

"The stories in this collection demonstrate Duncan’s wandering spirit in the impressive variety of ways that he explores the meaning behind his title. ... Considering the title on its own, someone unfamiliar with Duncan might expect this to be a collection of horror stories. Yet Duncan’s work resists genre, as his words pass through the conventions of apocalypse, noir, whimsy, zombie alternate history, and the uncanny. What Lies In Wait shows that though Duncan can maintain a focus, he doesn’t stay in one place for very long."

What Lies In Wait does cover a wide variety of styles and genres, but I'm glad he saw the thread that runs through the book, the idea that none of us knows what might be waiting for us right around the corner of this human experience; maybe something good, maybe something evil and hungry, or maybe its the discovery of our truest selves. One thing is for certain: once we cross that line and make that discovery, there's no going back. 

Read the full review right here!

Copies are available online at Amazon.com

My Top 3: Stephen King Short Stories

My Top 3: Stephen King Short Stories

I still remember the first time I picked up Stephen King’s short story collection Night Shift, and after the first tale within I was forever changed. I had previously tried my hand at his novels when I was in middle school and early high school, but they never did much for me (not until much later), but those shorts…oh man, they got me good. Here are my Top 3 stories that sank in their claws and still haven’t let go.

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The Club Dumas: A Review

The Club Dumas: A Review

** Warning: May Contain Some Plot Spoilers **

Like many readers, I saw the Polanski/Depp film The Ninth Gate before I read Arturo Pérez-Reverte’sThe Club Dumas, and despite what I felt was a let-down ending in the film (we’re taken all the way to the final gate, and then...), I enjoyed it enough to pick up the book years later, hoping for a fleshed out story and an improved finale.

But for those wanting to dance with the devil after an eerie, mysterious, occult-infused plot, the movie may have come closer to a satisfactory ending than I first realized.

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Up The Staircase Quarterly's Book Review of 'The Cards We Keep'

Author, poet, and Up the Staircase Quarterly editor April Michelle Bratten has posted a great review of my collection of short fiction, The Cards We Keep. In part she says, "Duncan’s characters are genuinely interesting and relatable in all of these ten stories, no matter what strange or dangerous predicaments they might have gotten themselves into… (continued) 

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A Review of 'They Don't Dance Much' by James Ross

A Review of 'They Don't Dance Much' by James Ross

Jack McDonald loses his farm and everything that went with it, save for the debt, and he wanders through the evening until he comes to Smut Milligan’s roadhouse just outside of town. Smut sells him some illegal corn whiskey and offers him a job as the roadhouse cashier. With nowhere else to go, Jack joins on the expanding operation and soon bears witness to the depths of humanity's greed, corruption, and vengeance. Set deep in the south during the Great Depression with a wide cast of believable, rough-and-tumble characters, James Ross’ They Don’t Dance Much is almost Shakespearian in its exposure of the darkness of the human soul, combining the best elements of Raymond Chandler, Flannery O’Connor, James M Cain, Jim Thompson, and even hints of William Faulkner’s Southern Gothic aesthetics.

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