Book Review – The Broken Darkness by Theresa Braun

I can safely say that I am a fan of Theresa Braun’s work. I’ve read a few of her stories over the years, so when I heard about a big collection with oodles of these tales within, I couldn’t really say no.

Before I begin, and just to sound like every other short story collection review, I have to say there are some superb stories in here, a couple that didn’t quite grab me by the throat in their awesomeness, but all in all there should be something for everyone, and my ‘it was OK’ one may be your ‘woooaaah, that was the best thing EVER’ one. Or something.

Right, that’s that out of the way. Let us begin.

Dead Over Heels kicks things off with a couple who go on a blind date. Things go well, and they realise they both like each other, awww. But they soon discover they actually have a family connection (no, not like that) which forces them to reconsider their feelings. It takes a while for the horror to get going here, but I have to say I didn’t really notice, such was the compelling story and great characters.

As things progress, these two are forced to re-live a terrible moment from their past. And then there be ghosts!

After the stunning opener comes Collecting Empties, which was both interesting and amusing. A lady wakes up with a terminal hangover and murderous shit ensues. I will say no more.

The Celestial Assignment is a story I’ve read before, but really enjoyed again the second time around. Will is an angel tasked with watching over a girl. But Will is not just an angel, he’s actually just a dead dude who now has to undo the wrongs he committed when he walked this earth. This is great, and pretty funny to boot.

I really enjoyed Guilty as Cell, this is certainly a warning to get your head up from your phone, because horrors await if you don’t. The dead aren’t fans of technology.

Lost Time is a shortie, and a strange one brimming with tension and atmosphere. This could have been a scene from a David Lynch film.

In Heathen I was really sticking up for the protagonist. Dubbed the ‘weird kid’ at school, due to his fascination with the darkness and his love of metal, he makes unlikely friends with the jocks and popular girls. But they only wanna save him from his ‘sinful’ ways, or perhaps their plans are much worse. Yes there are demonic happenings at play here, which is always a hit with me.

Stillborn is a really creepy tale about strange things going on with babies in a maternity unit. Surely the doctor should be the guy to trust? But he’s not. He really isn’t!

I wasn’t feeling as much love for Legend Trippers, though the tension crafted was pretty good. If there’s a monster thing lurking in the shadows then just leave it well alone. If you can!

Dying for an Invitation is a gothic vampire tale, and I really enjoyed this one. The suspense builds from the first page culminating in a sweet, romantic ending. I jest, the ending is erm, different to that.

In Homecoming a young couple head off to an old castle for some smoochy times. Things don’t end well for them. This was another great story on offer.

Stay Tuned is a strange one, where a group of ‘revengists’ cause havoc and gore a kids party. This was kind of surreal but another good one in my eyes.

‘We gotta get the band back together,’ is the motivation behind While My Guitar Gently Weeps. I’m a fan of music stories so knew I was going to love this one, and it didn’t disappoint. What would you pay to reincarnate those great memories of gigging? Well, not this.

This collection is finished off with Heirloom where a therapist is going through some shit in her life. Add in the weird old family mirror that transports her to another dimension and things really take a bad turn for her. I always find stories involving an inescapable fate the creepiest and most enjoyable, just like this one.

So Theresa Braun has done it again. I suppose the over-riding message here is to just go and check this out!!

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