Posts Tagged ‘Phil Sloman’

Broken on the Inside by Phil Sloman

June 5, 2018 - 8:17 pm No Comments

Broken on the Inside by Phil Sloman
Published by Black Shuck Books on 3rd June 2018
166 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having read the novella Becoming David and some other short stories in various anthologies written by this author. I was pleased that he had now got his own collection in the Black Shuck Books Shadows series. The book features 5 short stories where the mental state of the main protagonists play an important part to the stories
Broken on the Inside: The title of the book is a story about Kira a young woman who over time became histrionic. Living with her mom who had the same condition, Kira wanted a cure. So when she came across Dr Secombe who professed to a miracle cure. Kira knew that she had to give it a go. As you are following Kira’s story, there is a sense of happiness as she gets her old life. However as the story takes a turn for the worse, you can sense the tension between Kira and her mom’s relationship. The story builds to a shocking reveal, which I did not see coming.
Discomfort Food: Rebecca works in a fast food restaurant and has a secret that only the meals know about. This reminded me of a modern version of the Tell Tale Heart. This was very descriptive and I loved the ending.
The Man Who Fed the Foxes: Paul is suffering from depression. Drinking heavily, he finds some peace when a family of foxes take up residents in his garden. After he began to feed them, they had an unusual way of showing their satisfaction. The majority of the story revolved around Paul’s grief. As I learnt more about why he is so upset, the actions of the foxes made it just right. An unexpected ending.
There Was an Old Man: I think most people know the nursery rhyme, There was a Old lady that swallowed a fly. Well this story is about John Hinklow and the aftermath of this event. As the story progress you can sense John’s anguish and do wander if a lot is in his head. The story is a page turner as I wanted to find out what happened at the end.
Virtually Famous: Having read this story in Imposter Syndrome, I was happy to see it in this collection. This is what a wrote the 1st time I read it and I still agree now. From the start this story got me hooked. The opening line “He died a thousand times today and would die a thousand more”. Chet Tyler was fixated on his own game and whilst some gamers wanted to be him others wanted to kill him. The fascination Chet had with the game was unnatural. The author has the knack of making you unsure whether you are reading the gaming or Chet’s experience. The lines of fact and fiction is blurred. You know Chet had a substance abuse but was he imagining it. All this made me want to read more.
Each story was completely different and whilst there were not monster’s and demons in this book, it shows how frightening human nature and conditions can be. Each story built up to unexpected endings. I love this author’s short stories and I hope they are more to come. If you have not read any of this authors work before than this is a great collection to get you started.

Becoming David by Phil Sloman

January 7, 2018 - 11:05 am No Comments

Becoming David by Phil Sloman
Published by Hersham Horror Books on 24th September 2016
86 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Richard a self-employed accountant, house-proud and someone you would take home to meet your mother, a man who if you met in a pub you would be happy to have a drink with him. But what if I told you he had unusual taste, a taste for meat that was not animal. Oh yes to get his favourite food, he had to kill, unsuspected men he picked up in bars. He had a great life, until he killed the wrong person and David made sure he knew it.
This is a fast paced read and before I knew I had finished it. Having only a few characters, helps you learn all about Richard. When David started to haunt Richard, you get to see Richard’s world fall apart. At the start David was more like Jiminy Cricket, Richard’s conscious but as the story progressed he became as dark as Richard. Although there were times that I suspected that Richard had a split personality and David was a figment of his imagination. Whilst this is a story of a cannibal serial killer, the author does not concentrate on the blood and gore which enables you to use your imagination. The cannibalism was discussed at meal times and I always had a smile on my face when I read how he prepared the food. Obtaining the meat was just how you would get meat from an animal. The planning of each killing was more important than the kill and you can understand how Richard had got away for it for so long. There are not many books that at the end of the story, you start to feel sorry for the killer, but this was one of them.
I have read this author work in a few anthologies and always love his ideas of a story. I am eagerly looking forward to more stories from him. If you like your horror psychological then pick up this book.

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth

December 12, 2017 - 11:26 pm No Comments

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth
Published by Dark Mind Press on 25th November 2017
182 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

What if you see some who looks like you? or you think you are living with the wrong family? These questions and more are answered by 10 authors in this anthology.
I Know What They Look Like by Gary McMahon: A taxi driver picks up a fare and gets more than he bargains for. A great opening to the book and really sets the scene. Strange things tend to happen at night, evil lurks in the shadows. Whilst reading this I was imagining it set as a black and white movie, and felt the apprehension when he picked up his fare and was completing his 1st task.
In the Marrow by Laura Mauro: Most little girls imaging they see faeries, and come up with ways to trap them. Hazel and Tara were no different. However, when Tara became ill, Hazel knew exactly how to cure her. As I was reading this story, I did wonder if Hazel was making the story up to cope with Tara’s illness. A beautifully written story.
Who is that on the Other Side of You by Timothy J Jarvis: Croker and Learmouth are on an expedition to Antarctica. Spitting imagine of each other except for a birthmark. The story of the expedition is writing in actual time, whilst their history was written in the format of a diary. This enabled the story to flow and helped describe the characters in detail. An intriguing story about adventure and betrayal.
What’s Yours is Mine by Holly Ice: After visiting her mom, Sophie finds out a secret that will affect her whole life. Whilst it was early on that Sophie found out her mom’s secret, the author writes it in a way that you think that due to her mom’s illness she is making it up. Throughout the story bits of Sophie’s past is revealed and slowly you realise just how big the secret was. The ending could have been a bit more graphic for me, but I enjoyed how this story was planned out
The Insider by Neil Williamson: A story based on the online world. Raymond is in Italy on business and a similar twitter account is causing him problems. This story explored how it is so easy to pretend to be someone else online. It shows how folk can hide behind a keyboard and post to get a rise from other users.
Other People’s Dreams by Stephen Bacon: Waking up after being involved in a bombing not knowing your past is scary enough, but add to that the graphic dreams, you can understand why he needs to see a doctor. Coming across a double gives him a new purpose in life. I really enjoyed this story, the graphic dreams, memory loss and the psychobabble. It had me wondering throughout what type of man the main character was, was he a murderer. The obsessive nature of the character once he found his double was scary. The author kept you guessing where the story was going.
Hold my Hand and I’ll Take You There by Ralph Robert Moore: This story follows Noah as a boy he battles a life-threatening illness, as a man he falls in love with Audrey, a woman who is suffering with mental health. This was one of the most moving stories that I have read. As a mom reading about young Noah’s suffering was heart-breaking, but the author gave me hope when Noah met Audrey. A twist had me stopping reading for a minute as I did not expect where the story was going. A great read.
The Wrong House by Tracy Fahey: Tom wakes up one morning and finds out that he is in the wrong house with the wrong family. Following Tom over a couple of days, the reason for his feeling is revealed. From the opening paragraph, you know something is wrong, but you do not know whether it is Tom or the house. Scenarios kept running through my mind as I was reading. The author has a way of telling a story that draws you in and makes you want to read more so you can find out what is happening. A heart-rending ending that explains the whole story.
Little Heart by Georgina Bruce: I have always wondered what goes through a child’s mind when their parent is a famous actor. The story explains detachment and how even as an adult it affected her. This story had a film noir feel to it and with scenes involving the film, added intrigue to it. A story that if you read it again, you will find something new.
Virtually Famous by Phil Sloman: From the start this story got me hooked. The opening line “He died a thousand times today and would die a thousand more”. Chet Tyler was fixated on his own game and whilst some gamers wanted to be him others wanted to kill him. The fascination Chet had with the game was unnatural. The author has the knack of making you unsure whether you are reading the gaming or Chet’s experience. The lines of fact and fiction is blurred. You know Chet had a substance abuse but was he imagining it. All this made me want to read more. A page turner with a great ending.
This anthology was a great read and a brilliant choice of authors.