Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts (Collected Horror Shorts Book 1)

November 15, 2018 - 4:33 am No Comments

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts (Collected Horror Shorts Book 1)
Published by Kevin J Kennedy on 30th November 2016
260 pages

It’s still only November and TV is awash with Christmas ads so to get me in the mood than reading an anthology of Christmas Horror shorts. With a mixture of 24 stories and poems, this book will certainly bring some Christmas cheer to Horror lovers. With so many stories I will still be writing this review on Christmas Eve so for time purposes, I am going to pick the ones that stood out for me. This was a difficult choice as they were all good reads.
Naughty or Nice by Veronica Smith: The story of Robert whilst he was working one night at Kmart. You notice as soon as Halloween has passed the shops start to sell Christmas merch and the Kmart was no difference. The story has killers that are unexpected and whilst they start out quite comical, it isn’t long until you know they mean business.
All Naughty, No Nice by Michael A Arnzen: What happens if Santa still spread his magic in a zombie world. This story had a sense of sorrow to it as you knew how despondent Santa was
Merry Fuckin’ Christmas by Kevin J Kennedy: What starts out with a regular guy preparing for Christmas soon changes into a tale of revenge. This story was heartbreaking and what one tragic accident can result in. The killings were described in detail and will have you thinking what would you do.
Hung With Care by Ty Schwamberger: A family gets a surprise from Santa. I enjoyed the Bad Santa and the real reason why Santa visits on Christmas Eve. The unique decoration above the fireplace completed the story
Killing Christmas by Andrew Lennon: We all know people like Jeff, in fact, I am like him. I get fed up how Christmas comes earlier every year and as soon as Halloween is over Christmas is rammed down our throats, but what happens to Jeff, does have you worried.
The Last Christmas Dinner by Christine Bergling: For Susan, preparing Christmas dinner is one of the busiest times of the year. This story builds up to a surprise ending and you are drawn into what you think is a happy Christmas celebration.
Whilst I have not mentioned the others, that doesn’t mean that I did not enjoy them. There are plenty of stories that will keep you busy over the festive season, and whether you like Christmas or not this book will please horror readers whatever your taste in horror is as this book cover most of the sub-genres. I have the all the collected short stories and I find it is a good way to read authors work that I have not come across.

Hark the Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

October 27, 2018 - 3:52 pm No Comments

Hark the Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden
Published by Pisces Books on 30th Oct. 2018
384 pages

Before we know it, the Christmas season will be upon us, and what would be nicer than sitting curled up with a book showcasing 18 stories spreading the Christmas cheer or should that be fear
If I reviewed every story, my review would go out on for ever, so here are a some of stories that I really liked.
Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith: Travelling is a stressful situation. Having a new born baby in tow is double the stress. This story follows a couple as they take their baby on a Christmas getaway to Barcelona. As you read the story you could feel the cracks beginning to show with their happy family. There is a feel of tension in the story as you expect something to happen at any time. The addition of the presents takes the situation from bad to worse. A good twist at the end.
The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R Lansdale. Strange goings on in a hotel, gives a chance for the MC to find out more about the mystery girl who kissed him at a Christmas party many years before. Even though you know that something bad happened at the hotel, the investigation of the owner and the haunting of the room gave it a whodunnit feel to the story. Swapping timelines was smooth and made this story a quick read.
Yankee Swap by John M McIlveen. First off, I had not got a clue what Yankee Swap was so had to google it. This story had a fatal twist to the game and a Saw feel to it. Non-stop drama with an ending that I never saw coming.
The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough. Life was hard being a chimney sweep boy, its harder when the house you are working at is haunted by a ghost. The descriptive writing made you feel that you were watching a movie. This had everything you need in a ghost story. Love, revenge and haunting ending.
Whilst I had heard of some of the authors, this was a good introduction to the others and I will be sure to look out for other work by them. As Horror comes in different shapes and form, do not expect every story to scare you, but buy this book and pick your own favourite story.

Dead Reckoning and other stories by Dino Parenti

October 17, 2018 - 7:41 pm No Comments

Dead Reckoning and other stories by Dino Parenti
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 5th October 2018
226 pages

Regardless of whether I recognise the author, I always purchase any book published by Crystal Lake Publishing. Dead Reckonings and other stories featuring 16 short stories that some could be in the news today.
Like all anthologies there were some stories that stood out for me. From the seventies Two Boys in a Diner- Vic and his younger brother Jimmy are in a diner reminiscing about family, death and old times. As there is only 2 characters, you really get to know them and whilst brothers and brought up together, they are like chalk and cheese. It is not till the end that the true reason of their visit to the diner is revealed.
From the eighties Dead Reckoning- The story opens with a policeman being dragged by a priest on a horse. The story swaps between past and present with ease and as you read this story you find out exactly what the policeman had done to deserve this treatment and why the priest felt the need to dish out the punishment. This story does make you think, was either in the wrong, was their actions justified.
From the nineties Savior- Following a vet disfigured from war, trying to make a living and his fascination with a performer from the visiting fair. There was a feel of sorrow to this story. The main character was hidden away due to his serious injuries. When he performed with his disguise it reminded me of the elephant man and the prejudice that people had for him. Did he do the right thing, I am still undecided.
Jumping to the post-apocalyptic story On the Fickle Nature of Germination. A discovery of 2 ancient bodies trapped between the ice and the outbreak of a devastating flu. Is there a link. This story was one that could be more fact than fiction, as remains get excavated what diseases could be unearthed. This was a quick pace story just like the outbreak.
There was the odd story that I could not get in to, but this did not stop me liking the book. A nice touch was that some of the stories had a low-key link, either by an odd line or action which if like me you read the whole book from cover to cover you will spot straight away.
These stories had a mixture of genres, that would please the readers of dark fiction. Whilst I was writing this review I was checking on amazon to see his other published work and I am surprised that this was his first.

Lost Objects by Marian Womack

September 18, 2018 - 9:47 pm No Comments

Lost Objects by Marian Womack
Published by Luna Press Publishing on 3rd July 2018
119 pages

A day does not go by when the news does not feature global warming or a certain animal on the endangered list. This book contains 10 short stories exploring the impact of extinct creatures, a lack of food and changing climates,
Regardless which story your read, you soon come to realise that every story is beautifully written. The descriptive style of this author made me feel that I was going on a discovery and as I followed each character I was instantly submerge in their story.
Some of the stories that stood out for me were Black Isle: Based in Scotland, Dr Andrew Hay and his colleagues were scientist trying to restore nature. As I read this story I got the sense that there was something destructive was going to happen. The sense of foreboding especially when there was no bird song, had me wondering how far scientist were going to create their ideal world and one of the strangest things was the climate in Scotland. Constant sunshine and no rain.
Love (Ghost) Story. The MC had a ghost that appeared every evening. Throughout this story I found myself asking myself questions. How did he die? Did she kill him? Was she a victim of domestic violence? Because of all these questions, I felt real sympathy for the MC, and I felt a sense of loss for her as I felt that even in death, the ghost caused her to stop living.
The Ravisher, The Thief: Taking you to a mystical land, following Paloma who lived in a land were birds were heralded as gods. As to do some translating she learns a secret that has a big impact on the land. This story had a magical feel to it and I enjoyed reading about how the birds were trained and cared for. The story built up to an unexpected and tragic ending.
As a new author to me this book was a great introduction to her work. Being short stories of various length, it was perfect if you wanted a quick read as you could read a story in less than 1 hour.
Another great find from Luna Press Publishing

The Outsiders by Stephen Bacon, James Everington. Gary Fry, VH Leslie and Rosanne Rabinowitz

September 4, 2018 - 9:15 pm No Comments

The Outsiders by Stephen Bacon, James Everington. Gary Fry, VH Leslie and Rosanne Rabinowitz
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 4th May 2015
226 pages

For about a year I have read every new anthology Crystal Lake has published, however, having not read any of the early publications, I thought I would rectify this by reading The Outsiders. 5 authors writing about The Priory, a secluded estate set in the UK and home to a Lovecraftian cult and run by Charles Erich.

Opening with an introduction from Kevin Lucia, which sets the scene and gets you in the mood to sit and enjoy these 5 stories.

The Subprime by Gary Fry: Finance is a cut throat industry, but Lee at the age of 19 was doing well except for one thing he had a conscious. Mr Philips, his boss hopes to persuade him not to leave by inviting him to a dinner party at his home in the Priory. This is our first meeting with the folk at the Priory and whilst the author at the start made them seem pretty normal as the story continued you could sense they were itching for a kill.

Impossible Colours by James Everington: Michala Bruce is a community officer patrolling Exham and takes an interest in the Priory after Marty Young kills himself. The story describes the effects of the cult, strange flashing colours and the residents being more in a trance. Telling part of the story through Marty’s journal enabled the reader to see both sides of the story and you are left wandering what happened to Michala.

Stolen from the Sea by Stephen Bacon: Ryan was the salesman for the Priory, getting donations for the cause and persuading to join them. A chance meeting with Natalie starts out as friendship, but when Ryan’s son tragically dies their friendship turns into so much more. Written with sensitivity this story looks at grief and religion and regardless of the religion, people will question their faith at times of sorrow.

Precious Things by VH Leslie: Petra and Bernard both retired, moved into the Priory. Married for a long time Petra was used to Bernard’s eccentricity and his love of rocks kept him busy for ages. But when he started locking himself in his study for a long period of time and having secret meetings with Charles Erich, she became worried. This story built up to a dramatic ending and showcased the power of love that Petra had for her husband

Meat, Motion and Light by Rosanne Rabinowitz: Claudia was away at University when her mom asked her to return to the Priory. Reluctant to give up her freedom, she went home to find out what was going on. Following Claudia’s story, you get an understanding that her childhood was not fun. More was written about the creature and the effects it had on the residents. With references to characters and incidents from the previous stories this was the perfect story to finish this anthology.

This was a quick read and whilst it is horror, it wasn’t usually from the creature that lived under the grounds. These stories showed the good and bad of human nature and the effects of the cult on everyone who encountered them. A good read which enabled me to get my fix of short stories