Justin Bog's first collection of short stories, SANDCASTLE AND OTHER STORIES, works brilliantly on many levels. Bog's prose is stark and lean, and he excels at description. He is a keen observer of life and people, and through his characters he skims painfully close to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that could belong to any of us.
Bog writes from inside the head of a woman or a man, young or old person, with equal proficiency. He excels at delivering the mundane minutia of life in a style that draws you in, then pops you with the horror of a few words or a tiny gesture and the consequences of either. These are stories and characters that linger, leaving you feeling subtle discomfort or outright terror that a human being could act in such a manner. Of the many stories in the collection, "Sandcastle" and sad, vicious Brenda have stuck with me the longest. The most agonizing part of the story? That we could do the same.