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Search tags: short-story-anthologies-collections-read
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review 2017-03-09 22:30
All Souls' Night by Hugh Walpole
All Souls' Night - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Sir Hugh Walpole

 

All Souls' Night is an excellent collection of stories, originally published back in the 1930's. I listened to the audio version, narrated by the outstanding Matt Godfrey.

 

Not all of these tales were dark fiction or ghost stories, but-of course, those were my favorites. The ones that I enjoyed most were found right at the beginning, namely:

 

The Whistle I love tales about dogs and people that don't care for them. Dogs always know.

 

The Silver Mask Nothing outright horrific, really, but most definitely unsettling and surprising.

 

The Staircase Easily my favorite story in this collection. Featuring extremely keen insights into human behavior, (that stand up, even to this day), as viewed and acted upon, by the house itself. This one blew me away.

 

Lastly:

 

Lilac I thought this was going to be one kind of story, but it didn't go the way I thought it would at all.

 

As I said above, I listened to the audio of this book and I thought the narrator did a great job of bringing these tales alive. I could easily picture everything going on and the English accent was appropriate for the time and age in which the stories were set.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. If you decide to try it out, don't expect all of the stories to be macabre, or to involve the supernatural. These tales vary widely, but all of them feature startling insights into the nature of humanity, and they are still true today.

 

Highly recommended, especially the audio version!

 

You can get your copy here: All Souls' Night (Valancourt 20th Century Classics)

 

*I was provided this audio book free of charge from the narrator, (through Audio Boom!) in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it. Thanks to you both for the opportunity!*

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review 2017-03-06 15:36
The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

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review 2017-01-08 15:34
Infernal Parade by Clive Barker
Infernal Parade - Clive Barker,Bob Eggleton

 

Clive Barker always delivers in the creative department and this collection is no different.

 

Clocking in at only 88 pages, these short stories really pack a punch, yet as a whole, it feels like something is missing.

 

 

I think my favorite stories in the bunch were The Sabbaticus and The Golem, Elijah. Both could be interpreted as cautionary tales, as could Bethany Bled , and who doesn't like those? Be careful what you wish for and all that. These stories did make me miss (and long for) the Clive Barker of old with big old door-stopper books like Imajica or Weaveworld, where there was plenty of time for Mr. Barker to weave his spell. However, Infernal Parade did give me a taste of the wild imagination and words of Mr. Barker, so how could that be bad?

 

Recommended for fans of the Clive Barker of old!

 

*Thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it. *

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review 2016-12-23 19:55
The Seeds of Nightmares by Tony Tremblay
The Seeds of Nightmares - Tony Tremblay

The Seeds of Nightmares is a collection of wide variety and scope. It truly stands above most other collections and anthologies I've read this year, or any other year, for that matter. Rarely is it that I am so impressed with an author with whom I was totally unfamiliar.

 

Nearly every story in the book worked for me, but these are the ones that made the strongest impressions:

Stardust Amazing, sad and beautiful, this story of twins with an abusive father will stick with you for a long time. Maybe even forever.

 

The Strange Saga of Mattie Dyer When I met Tony and bought this book last October, he signed it with the warning "Stay away from the holes." I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but last week, (after a late night book buying spree), I read this story and it all became clear. This tale is definitely in my top ten short stories of all time, just because it's so strange and original. Plus, the author doesn't spoil it all by trying to over explain things. Once you read it, you'll see. In the meantime, stay away from the holes.

 

The Soldiers Wife I'm not sure why short stories about soldiers work well for me, but they do. At first, I was comparing this story to Robert McCammon's Nightcrawlers, (from his Blue World collection), and then The Soldier's Wife took such a twisted turn, I gasped out loud. Well done!

 

An Alabama Christmas This was another poignant tale that nearly broke my heart.

 

Lastly, Husband of Kellie Extremely short, but packing a punch that will knock you right out.

 

The Seeds of Nightmares made an impact on me due to its originality and the author's skill. It takes a special kind of talent to write stories with staying power, and Mr. Tremblay has that talent, in spades.

You can get your copy here: The Seeds of Nightmares

 

*I paid for this book with my hard earned money, and Mr. Tremblay did sign it for me. Even though I consider him to be an online friend, this did not affect the content of my review. *

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review 2016-12-12 13:59
In Sunlight or in Shadow edited by Lawrence Block
In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper - Lawrence Block

In Sunlight or in Shadow has an intriguing premise. Within you will find short stories based upon the paintings of Edward Hopper. One doesn't need to be familiar with Hopper's work to enjoy this book. Each tale is prefaced with information about the author and an image of the painting on which the story was based. These were my favorites:

 

SOIR BLEU (based on the painting below) by Robert Olen Butler I'm a horror fan and this story features a creepy clown. How could I go wrong? The best part of this one was the tricky way in which it was told.

  

 

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS by Craig Ferguson Yes, you read that right-It's THE Craig Ferguson and he also writes stories in addition to his work on television. This is another case of tricky story-telling and it was superb. One of my favorite quotes in this entire book comes from this story:

 

"The sea was guilty and quiet like it had just eaten."

 

THE MUSIC ROOM by Stephen King. What is that thumping from the closet? This tale was just plain fun and even if SK's name wasn't listed, I would know this story was his. Twisted and short, this is an example of the King at his best.

 

OFFICE AT NIGHT by Warren Moore. Large Marge finally scores herself a job in the big city. I adored this bittersweet tale of a young woman taking on NYC.

 

NIGHT WINDOWS by Jonathan Santlofer.  Featuring a creepy Peeping Tom, (and that's the least of this man's crimes), this is a great tale of a woman's revenge. I have a soft spot for revenge tales and this one is a doozy!

 

Overall this anthology features not only well known authors, but lesser known authors as well. For the most part it was the lesser knowns that shined the brightest for me. Those, and Mr. Hopper himself, who I've developed a fondness for after reading this book. I would love to view some of his artwork in person, and I'm going to try to do just that.

 

Highly recommended for fans of diverse short stories and for fans of Edward Hopper! You can buy your copy here: In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Pegasus Books for the free advance review copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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