Reviews for Nailgun
alltheeagles chapter 1 . 11/1/2015
RG EF

Your structure is great here. You lull us first with the tale of a love that lasted (but of course as a regular reader of your pieces, I’m watching out for when it all goes off the track!). I’m not too sure myself why it feels like a nice gesture when a wife buys her husband a power tool for his job as opposed to the reaction if a husband were to buy, say, a vacumm cleaner for his wife (to help her do HER job), but anyway... it was a sweet start.
And there it was: Jack was dead and she was killing him again and again. I guess I’d have liked a little more build-up that would’ve heightened the shock value. Maybe add some little episodes from their idyllic life together, that kind of thing. Or equally, some little hints that all was not as well as it appeared.
Jalux chapter 1 . 6/18/2015
You know it's very surprising when you're reading about a supposedly normal wife buying a present for her husband only to discover it's more to murder innocent people with. I think the contrast as others have pointed out is a very nice touch here and certainly most people would not expect the twist. Still I think you wrote the psychopath extremely well, the complete lack of mercy or care and the way she loves the wretched sound of someone dying. I think it's interesting how she twisted the man's idea of love to her love of what I assume is more or less suffering and death. Nice touch there.

Write something happier will you? Good stuff nonetheless.
ericthomasm chapter 1 . 3/6/2015
The few paragraphs that brought out the psychopath was great. The sudden switch - that you knew was coming - lit the story in a horrific glow seamlessly.
Ventracere chapter 1 . 12/26/2014
I like how the opening gives us a sense of openness, nothing of the terrifying twist that is bound to happen. It also gives nothing away except for the looming feeling that something is going to go wrong, and we don't know when. The way you present her is also so innocent, even at her age, her beauty enraptures us as well as other characters.
When the cashier said how love was one of the things ws something you can't quanitify, that was probably the turning point. I like how you transfer from this to the end seamlessly, and thus present a theme (hopefully I'm not getting this wrong), that while love is beautiful, it's also incredibly dark.

Good job!
Cheddar-Graham chapter 1 . 12/8/2014
For the RG EF

I like the contrast between the sweetness of the first part and the brutality of the second. I think I've read enough of your stuff by now to know that you specialise in stories with a twist, and I think the twist here is a good one, because if I didn't know that you have a thing for twists, I wouldn't have expected it. But because I do, I did, so... yeah, nice twist.

I think you make it clear who Jack is and what happened to him, but there is no explanation for why Norma killed him. And then there's the information about Jack being arthritic in the first paragraph, which indicates that he's alive. I suppose this could be deliberate on your part, to show that Norma is delusional maybe. Otherwise, you might want to look into this apparent discrepancy.
This Guy Again chapter 1 . 11/4/2014
Once again with this story you managed to squeeze in some great imagery in the first few lines. Your flare for this style of vivid writing is quite obvious, and I love how often you flex your descriptive muscles.

The murder scene in this piece is fantastically savage, and the way she carries it out almost gleefully is really reflective of some of the truly terrifying murders that have happened in real life. I thought you really portrayed the truly delusional psychoses of Norma well. It's almost possible to believe that she was a real killer.

As with Geocentric Confusion, I found it hard to pick any points worthy of criticism with this piece. Although once again I'll say that I'd like more. This whole thing had an almost film noir feel to it, and I really did enjoy it.

Overall, a really great piece. Well worth the read.

-from the roadhouse
Ckh chapter 1 . 11/3/2014
This is certainly twisted tale. The murder scene in the end, its pretty gore-ish no, not pretty gore-ish, REALLY gore-ish. Don't worry though, this wouldn't give me nightmares. I read too much creepypasta already. I like how you build up to the plot twist (that Norma actually killed her husband) in the end. Until the second half of the story, I was convinced that Norma was a nice lady and a faithful and loving wife. Well, I reached the second half, I thought that the man was going to kill Norma by stealing the nailgun (hence the name nailgun). That murder scene was pretty unsettling and really managed to bring out the impression that Norma was indeed a sick pyscho at heart. Overall, the narrative is great, the descriptions are great and well, I honestly cannot complain about anything. Keep up the good writing!
Shampoo Suicide chapter 1 . 10/31/2014
What a perfectly terrifying tale! I like the foreboding sense you've created here with the peaceful beginning, and the slight clue we get at the beginning with the casual mention of the murder victim on the news.

Your descriptions here really helped to create that sense that I enjoyed in this piece, namely the serene observational type quality of the beginning before the gruesome scene. I like the mention of the young couple in love as a stark contrast to what transpired between Norma and her own love.

I'm not getting a great sense of Norma's character and motivation really, despite my enjoyment of this piece. But overall it's not too much of a problem. Sometimes people are just off their rocker, so it's easy to let it slide. But I can see how the lack of clear motivation behind her becoming a sort of serial killer, and why she murdered her husband in the first place, being a problem for some readers.

The actual murder scene was perfectly grisly, almost too much for me really! But you obviously accomplished something with it, as I'm not a horror fan and brutal descriptions like that are the reason why (I get a visceral pain reaction to seeing things like that in movies and whatnot, so to have the same reaction reading it here can only be a good thing for your genre!). I like how casual she is about it all, because it makes it that much more horrifying. You've done a nice job with this!
WrathChild chapter 1 . 10/31/2014
Hey Nihongi! I'm back! Having read your previous story, I must tell you I have high expectations, and you did manage to meet them with this piece!

Overall I felt this piece had quite the heady mix of emotions, at the beginning I just did not get how this would be a horror story, with a lady walking down the streets of chicago, all smiles, watching an elderly couple. But well, I guess that just is another brilliant way to draw the reader in.

I love this line: "Even at forty five…debutante about her." it really is a clever piece of imagery and helps us to form an outline of Norma in our heads.

"It's already doing a pretty good job punching a hole in my wallet." Haha! Nice way to nail in some comical humor (no pun intended)

"The streets were darker…dumpsters and trash cans." Great switch of setting here, till now we saw the merry and happy parts of the city, now on to the darker alleys.

Oh man! Norma is one psychotic madwoman. Thinking of punching nails into another person as a form of love? What had Jack done to her? It really makes me question, he must have made life hell for her, then her mind snapped and she turned into someone this…unhinged.

And then the last paragraph, when she's all back to her springing steps and smiling faces. It sent shivers down my spine.

Your writing style is really simply and easy to grasp, most often I find myself scrolling back to the previous paragraph to understand what is happening. But not with your writing. So props to you there as well!

-WrathChild
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 10/28/2014
RG Depth #4,474

Character/Setting/Plot/Writing/Techniques/Style:

So, this is a very chilling and fun freaky story. I really like the way you craft the character of Norma. I'm picking up multiple cool references with her. Norman Bates from Hitchcock's 'Psycho' definitely, and some others, John Waters' 'Serial Mom' maybe? It's just the age of the character and the blond bob hairdo… Hmmm…

Well, I think Norma is fascinating and a lot of fun as a nice lady who it turns out is a crazy nailgun killer! I also like all the cosmetic imagery the word 'nailgun' conjures too. I wonder if you might want to think about working in something about Norma's perfectly manicured fingernails…

I think you do an excellent job using setting to develop Norma's character in this part:
"She had always loved this city, and this was one of the nights that made her appreciate it more."

You give us a sense of Norma's inner feelings and self image here. She obviously feels powerful as well as looking elated and "radiant":
"She wasn't extraordinarily beautiful but on this night under the nostalgic air of Spring she was absolutely radiant."
I think using setting to show readers (as opposed to telling them) what a character is feeling is a great technique. Good work!

This description gives me the impression of a significantly older person than Norma if he is so physically stressed:
"A carpenter by trade, Jack was always the industrious type who busied himself with projects even when he wasn't on the job, but now as he got older even the most menial of tasks seemed to put a strain on his body."

Scene/Character/Dialogue/Writing/Techniques/Style:

I really like this scene. It reminds me just a tiny bit of the opening scene of The Wire Season 4 where Snoop buys the nailgun ;):
""Actually, it's a birthday gift for my husband." Norma gave him her warmest smile. "He's a carpenter.""

This is a great line!:
"They both laughed. "Lady, there are two things that you can't put a price on," the cashier said. "One is quality. The other is love."" The pawnshop guy is quite a character even though he only appears for a short period.

The dialogue throughout the pawnshop scene really works for me. I totally believe the characters and the iconic snap of the lines is nice and crisp.

Hmmm… Do you really mean he is wearing a "petty coat" or usually spelled 'petticoat':
"He was a young man dressed in a ragged petty coat and stained slacks with a dingy Cubs baseball cap resting on his head."
A petticoat usually refers to women's underwear (specifically underskirts worn under dresses) from the 18th and 19th centuries. Perhaps you mean 'peacoat'? :)

Wow! This is so dramatic and I like the twist:
"He backed away, his face a dark blur, his mouth agape in horror, and he wasn't jack, because Jack had been dead for the past five years, ever since that warm Spring night when she had struck him in the back of the head with his hammer and then slit his throat from ear to ear with his boxcutter."

I also really like this image, it seems very appropriate for Norma's character:
"After the last nail had been discharged she slipped the gun back into her handbag and backed away from the bloody shadow sprawled on the pavement."

Fun, exciting story. Great refs too. Like it!

vb,

mbw
Jmin.A chapter 1 . 10/28/2014
Wow, intense! I could easily imagine the scenes of the story. Very descriptive! It sort of reminds me of a show I watched, it was called God's Gift 14 days. Great job! It's sweet how she'd do anything to show her love for Jack, yet at the same time, its twisted in a way. This story has an interesting concept. (:
Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 10/24/2014
I have to admire the pace at which you crank these pieces out. They also all have this unique (and I mean this in the best possible way when I say: ) crazy aspect to them, which I love. Anyway, on to this review!

One thing I might have already mentioned about your writing before and I think applies again now is how you tackle setting and environment. You pull no punches with the details, dropping street names and location-specific cues like the homeless man's cap and whatnot (never been to Chicago myself, but I have complete confidence that if I Google that intersection you mentioned, I won't be disappointed). Like I always say, these tiny little things make a world of a difference and I appreciate that they're there.

So, the opening: very light, very hopeful stuff, which of course serves wonderfully to set us up for how this story will end. An 'almost perfect' evening, indeed. I have a small suggestion though, and that is you could probably break this into two paragraphs, with a break right when Norma spots the couple in love. I feel as though it would make both paragraphs - the opening proper, and Norma reminiscing on her and Jack way back when - more powerful if each were allowed to stand on its own.

Let's talk about Norma for a bit. She initially presents as this sweet, devoted housewife just looking for a gift for her husband, adorable. Definitely, as she was walking on her way home and found herself alone with a man approaching her, my mind immediately went to another - I'm ashamed to say, more cliche - outcome, no less tragic but still relatively overplayed. Of course (I should have never doubted), you went for a completely different route, and wow Norma has issues. It's interesting because she doesn't seem vengeful or anything like that, just unhinged - she's so happy again at the end. Looking back, I see that you left a breadcrumb (I LOVE BREADCRUMBS) with the reporter talking about another stabbing victim, and Norma actually pushing the story out of her mind. I wonder how aware she is of things, in general.

Lastly, I like how the theme of 'love' is totally twisted and flipped and left on its head here. It helps that with the way the story starts out, the story seems to evoke (if not, *demand*) a very classical, romantic notion of love with this lady going out and spending good money on a thoughtful gift that will make her husband happy. That's another thing I wanted to mention too, the nailgun - not only does it title the story, but it's described and elaborated on with careful detail and deliberation, so much that it's almost a character in itself once it becomes the agent of Norma's madness. In the end, too, she thinks 'she's in love', and that's a very disquieting thing to read sandwiched between everything else that's going on in that scene, but it really sticks with you. It really sticks.

Again, thanks for the read! Now I'm gonna go downstairs, get lunch, and keep a wary eye on smiling women with their hands in their purses.

For RG Depth,
JM
Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 1 . 10/21/2014
I'm partially not sure if this story is sweet or just very, very dark and twisted XD - but that's not a bad thing, because it only makes your story harder to categorise. What I like about this piece is the atmosphere and how it shifts and changes throughout the course of the story; it goes from nostalgic to sweet to dark and twisted to finally being somewhat bittersweet in the end. I like that, because it matches the tone of the piece well, and make the reading process more entertaining.

What I also like about this piece is the plot itself and how it's so much about love and remembrance, but in a very dark way. Namely, I like how this lady commemorates her husband by murdering someone on his birthday: it's pretty sweet in its own way, and just marks the importance this man still holds in her life, even though he's dead. What I also like about the piece is the writing style itself; it's a bit simpler than your latest stories, but I also think it fits the story, which is deceptively simple on the onset but then turns quite dark.

Oh I liked the shopkeeper's dialogue :D - it sounded really natural :3