Read from December 12 to 19, 2016
Synopsis: Ten stories of spine-tingling suspense, edited by Rayne Hall:
1.OUT OF ORDER by Karen Heard
What do you do when the lights go out and the screaming starts?
2. OUR LADY OF THE TOADS by Deborah J. Ross writing as Deborah Wheeler
The large, ugly toad perched in front of the gate was truly worthy of being a witch’s familiar.
3. FAMILY HEIRLOOM by Pamela Turner
This weapon has a mind of its own.
4. RING OF STONES by Donna Johnson
Jake Barnes seeks revenge on the cursed creature living in the abandoned well.
5. DEATH COMES TO MAGGIE MCDANIEL by Grayson Bray Morris
A bully’s cruel hand grants Maggie’s dearest wish.
6. CREATURES OF THE NIGHT by William Meikle
What if intense fantasies create a different reality?
7. DRUID STONES by Rayne Hall
Modern druids enact an ancient ritual, and a woman watches in secret.
8. THE LOFT by Liv Rancourt
Three women from the church choir learn that evil is everywhere.
9. LIFE IN MINIATURE by Tracie McBride
Street kid Michael thinks it’s his lucky day when a do-gooder picks him up off the street.
10. YOU HAVE ONE MESSAGE by Jonathan Broughton
Press * for connection.
Some of these stories have been previously published in other books, magazines or e-zines.
Bookish Things: 134 pages. The cover suits, but looks a little amateur hour.
Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for $0.91.
Overall this collection of stories only made up approx 70% of the book (the rest was dedicated to promotion of the author’s other works) and left quite a bit to be desired. There weren’t really any creepy stories here, and the ‘horror’ was in very small quantities.
My favourite story by quite a way was ‘Death comes for Maggie McDaniel’ because of the haunting sadness and the fact that it was a well written and interesting tale. I would definitely read more by Grayson Bray Morris, Pamela Turner, Donna Johnson and William Meikle. The rest I probably wouldn’t bother.
I feel that the four best stories are dragged down a bit by the others that get a nudge into the realm of good because they’re being carried by the four better stories. Not a great collection, but an OK way to spend a couple of hours if you want a not very scary collection of stories.
Story specific thoughts below:
Out of Order – 3 stars
This one has a single horrible animal scene, which is written off in one or two lines. The horror aspects were not a problem, a bit simple, like a child witnessing a murder, too simplistic to be very impactful. A shame really because the idea is interesting.
Our lady of the toads – 3 stars
Witches tale that reads quickly but doesn’t really offer anything new. Not a bad read, but a touch boring.
Family Heirloom – 4 stars
An interesting idea, but the story was over too quickly. I’d have liked to see the story teased out a bit more.
Ring of stones – 4 stars
A really short tale rich with imagery and sensory information. But a glimpse, captivating.
Death comes for Maggie McDaniel – 4.5 stars
A sad tale, full of character and loss. I only wish it were a touch longer so the blow to guts had the impact it deserves. Lovely writing.
Creatures of the night – 4 stars
The creepiest story so far tied in with the character being a writer so it’s an instant win for me. The pace is quick, detail light but enough to paint a picture.
Druid stones – 2.5 stars
The story gallops along to its own tune, the ending obvious from a mile off. A lot of flowery wording that could be cut to make the story stronger.
The Loft – 2 stars
Rather boring, even what should have been tense moments lacked any sort of urgency. Repetition and an annoying MC made for an uninteresting or engaging story.
Life in miniature – 3.5 stars
A great idea, but over far too quickly. This should have been teased out, hints dropped etc. Who is Susan? Who is Michael? A little more character behind them would make this a great story.
You have one message – 3 stars
Probably the creepiest only because of the unknown factor and the panic written on the characters faces. The story offered little by way of characterization, but for once this worked because it allowed the faceless masses to form and show mass hysteria even in a small window of opportunity with limited character visibility. Still, there were too many unanswered questions and not enough content to really make this stand on its own.
**Note: I won an electronic copy of this book through the Booklikes giveaway program**