Book Review – The Encampment by the Gorge & Blood Memory by Zachary Ashford


It’s another Short Sharp Shocks! review, folks! I must say not one of these stories in the series has disappointed me yet, and I’m pleased to say that these two delights just add more fuel to the raging fire.

The Encampment by the Gorge carries a real Heart of Darkness vibe throughout. Set out in the woods, a terrible tragedy has occurred with the locals not taking too kindly to outsiders entering their homeland. I say homeland, it’s not as though they’re a secret tribe in the wilderness, just denizens of an illegal commune. So blood-spilling is to be expected, I guess.

The group want revenge for their murdered friend and mutilated dogs, so they prepare for battle. Although what they encounter is certainly not what they expected. It would be easier if the enemy was simply human. But alas, the guys have to contend with sentient innards, undead beasts, and horrifying monsters.

The gore on offer here was nicely handled, with a few icky moments captured in entrail-splattered glory. The descriptions of the devoured dogs will have animal lovers everywhere screaming ‘noooo’ at the pages. The ‘cooee’s’ that surround the group of vengeance-hunters from within the trees are terrifying. Death could indeed spring from anywhere. There was a real unnerving atmosphere surrounding them. It seems nowhere is safe in these here parts.

Blood Memory follows a journalist just trying to write a good story. A local kid has gone missing, presumably the victim of a crocodile attack. As the journalist uncovers dark secrets and ancient folklore, he wishes he’d just stayed at home and written a piece on a brave cat saving the day, or something.

The beast is more than simply a crocodile, but I won’t say too much else. Needless to say, there is yet more death and gruesome gore. People are not who they seem, and the warnings provided to our brave journalist should probably have been heeded.

Zachary Ashford knows how to describe disgusting things, which is a great thing if you want to freak out your audience. I really enjoyed these two tales, as I totally dig disgusting stuff.

These two stories are right up there with the other excellent instalments in this series. You wanna get Short Sharp Shocked? Look no further.

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