This collection of short stories certainly left me craving for more. Now is that a bad thing? Maybe, although isn’t that the point of short fiction; leaving the reader desperate for more?
These 15 stories of mostly flash fiction and a few longer pieces were a dynamic offering of the horrific, humorous and at times, heart-warming.
There were a few that didn’t quite work for me (the heart-warming ones, of course – ha) but overall this was a really enjoyable collection.
I’ll give you a little run-down of some of my faves!
Monday Morning starts off quite normally, much like most monday mornings. A guy arrives at his office for yet another week of slaving to the grind. But things go on in this office of a certain cannibalistic nature. This is the first story and is a great way of introducing the horror and humour aspect of Smeaton’s writing.
Snot is a body horror nightmare that may have some readers turning away, but not me. It’s short, gross, and lots of awesome fun.
The goings on in suburbia is the focal point of The Street. It’s Halloween evening, we follow a group of kids trick-or-treating, and peek into the lives of those they’re visiting. Secrets and supernatural occurrences are rife in this street, some more shocking than others.
Spells is a short tale about a little girl with a magical spell book that may actually be the real deal. Her dad doesn’t believe her, but he soon will.
My favourite story was Milk. A family move to the country where a mysterious milk farm is run by strange women who don’t take too kindly to our man, Dave. The family welcome a baby into the world, a boy whose hunger can only be satisfied by the farm’s milk. One night Dave visits the farm to make a ghastly discovery.
This is one of the longer stories and builds the tension throughout. The farm isn’t described as creepy exactly, but there’s something off there that you can’t quite put your finger on. Oh, Dave, why did you have to visit there at night?
Another super short tale was Spider Chords. I love stories related to music and bands, especially when strange and evil forces are released through the playing of music. This one is frightening yet funny.
Snake Charmer is a story involving ancient cults and sacrifice. A man travels to India where his brother has recently died, only to find out there was much more his brother was up to than he thought. This was a nice change of setting for this kind of story; instead of a secluded off-the-beaten-track community, we’re thrown into another country where the strangeness of the place to a foreigner really heightens the tension. A cult of snake worshippers? Scary stuff!
These Guys is quite the bizarro tale with a clever and enjoyable story-telling mechanism. Three dudes each narrate their own experiences at a gathering on the beach with booze, girls, and a couple of strangers. This was one of the weirder stories on display.
Two stories with heavy Lovecraft love are The Path out of Ulthar, and Destination R’lyeh; the latter of which was a really fun tale, but one I just hoped had been longer. It seems Sat-Navs really can take you anywhere.
This short collection is a blast, and one that you’ll sail through in no time. With scares and laughs in almost equal measure, this is a horror collection that, even when frightening the pants off you, never takes itself too seriously.
Get your hands on this one!!
Categories: book review