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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Last Call by Michael Trudeau is a compilation of the author's original poetry that pays tribute to and sets out to probe the darkest corners of the human psyche, both real and imagined, and supernatural elements. While most of the work does have a degree of loosely woven rhyme, it doesn't regularly follow traditional syllable unity and has an entirely free stanzaic form. The poems range in tone and tenor from pieces like the macabre Metal Table, with its first-person point of view narrated by the person under examination on a post mortem autopsy table, to the short and shocking Last Day, where a couple is grooming themselves for a date, only to open the door to a terrifying scene with an equally terrifying prophecy. All told there are nearly twenty poems, best summarized by a stanza in the penultimate piece Dark Side of the Soul which reads, “No happiness is achieved, Unless the dark is relieved, And when the dark is set free, The cost is surely heavy...”
It's quite rare for me to have the opportunity to read poetry that dances in and out of the horror genre, one that is classically associated with prose over verse. This was the first thing that stood out when I picked up Last Call by Michael Trudeau. The writing is simple and straightforward with jabs that sneak up almost at the moment when you think you know what comes next. Trudeau employs the teasing of a couple of verses that act as a soft set-up to a revelation that is frequently jarring and consistently thoughtful. It is for exactly this reason that I interrupted my husband's social media surfing to read him Phone Call, which starts out rather benignly as a tragic family loss that makes the reader feel sorry for two grieving parents, but rapidly transforms into something far, far more sinister. This is an interesting twist to traditional poetry that I imagine many readers will enjoy as much as I have.