Boyle is well published with over two dozen books under his belt. It shows in the steady voice prominent throughout his collection, whether the protagonist is a teen or an old man or a middle-aged woman. Though the variability doesn’t go much further than that ... Ten out of 13 short stories in I Walk Between the Raindrops feature a straight, presumably white, male character, many of whom are self-righteous, racist, misogynistic, or some combination of those three. The other three narratives still include such characters, they just don’t weigh in as heavily as, say, a straight white woman ... Sometimes, these annoyingly recurring traits become the crux of the story, and Boyle invites the reader to inspect or even laugh at them. Other times, they’re the default mode and nothing more ... The ideas lack originality, with two of the stories paralleling Black Mirror ... Rather than creative story concepts or exploring non-normative people, what Boyle shines in is appreciating a character through and through — the voice, psychology, and mannerisms that make each one unique despite heavy overlaps in their demographic Venn Diagram ... Considering it’s the collection’s namesake, I Walk Between the Raindrops falls flat, serving as a poor introduction. But Boyle’s conversational style and tidbits of wry humor grew on me with each tale. He freshens stale plots and trope-riddled characters by dropping a delightful assortment of knowledge into each vignette ... Among the best of the book’s fictions is the endearing final story Dog Lab, about a medical student struggling with the morality of operating on his canine patient. In it, Boyle showcases his capability with an engaging plot, engrossing details and rich characterizations.
Forty-plus years into his stellar career, the prolific Boyle retains his signature charm and wit while mining the human condition for its many intrinsic foibles. His latest story collection displays a breadth of subject matter ... Boyle’s genius lies in his ability to describe characters through the eyes of other characters, adding nuance and depth. There’s a rich musicality in Boyle’s prose that frequently calls to mind his beloved blues recordings with a hearty rhythm section creating a vital heartbeat to echo a character’s plight. His language can also take on a free flowing, jazz-like improvisational feel. Once again, Boyle’s virtuosity shines.
The prolific Boyle continues to have fun and make literary mischief with his latest story collection ... There's no reason why these 13 stories should seem so funny, as most of them confront individual mortality and some sort of cultural collapse. They run the gamut from the subversively real to the surreal in such a way that they blur the distinction between the implausible and the inevitable ... The title story doesn’t tempt the reader to confuse author and narrator, though it rings every bit as true and is very funny in the darkest sort of way ... A playful virtuoso with a deadly seriousness of purpose.