Gristle and Bones by Duncan Ralston

February 5, 2017 - 11:30 am No Comments

Gristle and Bones by Duncan Ralston

Published by Shadow Work Publishing on 17th June 2014

274 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

For this anthology, the author has taken a regular human need or action and turned them into seven dark stories, each one completely different from the one before.

Baby Teeth: Candace and Joel really want a baby, but after Candance was told she couldn’t have children, they slowly drifted apart. However, when Candance started hearing noises in the house, she did not expect the outcome. Reading this story, you definitely know that this is horror as the way the author described what happened to Candace was one of the darkest scenes I have read which was not what I expected.

Beware of the Dog: When Dean needed counselling for his PTSD, he knew that he had to go home and seek professional help. Going back home drags up old memories and the fears he had as a young boy resurfaces, but the saying “A dog is a man’s best friend” is definitely true. This is a moving story about a man who has to face his childhood fears and the guilt he still had over a childhood fight. Meeting up with his teenage crush was a pleasant surprise.

Viral: When a girl’s disappearance goes viral, Tara Maxwell manages to persuade her editor to let her investigate. This quite a sad story as there are a lot of people that are invisible and are able to hide their pain from the outside world. A very thoughtful story.

Artifact: A group of friends are highly successful in the porn industry, what their customer don’t know is that they trick the girls into performing for the camera. Everything was going well until an unexpected visitor gets revenge. This is a story about revenge, although a ghost story, it shows the seedy side of the porn industry.

End User: Mason is getting emails and videos from an unknown source. This story is full of suspense, and you are kept guessing who is responsible and the reason behind it until the very end.

Fat of the Land: David and June are on vacation, and they come across a restaurant where they try the most amazing food, but where did the meat come from. David and June had grown comfortable together and June started to notice small things that irritated her. Although I had my suspicions about the food, I enjoyed reading this story. The description of the meal made you feel as if you were in the restaurant eating the meal. The dramatic scenes after the meal, made this story a real page turner.

Scavengers: We have all heard of people who dumpster dive, to find food that has just been thrown out, but when Jim comes across a dumpster diver that can threaten life, he knows that he has to take action. This was one of my favourites and the longest story in the book. Written from the neighbour’s retelling of the events, this story had everything horror, suspense and action. I loved the idea of a new creature terrorising the streets and the description on how they moved reminding me of the girl from The Ring.

This book was a great introduction for me to the author’s work and I loved each story. The majority of this book I could see being made into a TV show like Tales of the Unexpected, as the descriptive way the author tells a story, makes you feel that you are there watching it scene by scene. A good read

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