A fascinating study of evil.
‘Flash of Darkness’ delivers a series of fascinating vignettes that give the reader glimpses into the nature of evil. It’s both thought-provoking and chilling in the portrayal of evil as rational and reasoned in the minds of the beings that do its will. These stories are beautifully written, with vivid imagery and a dark eloquence that really enhances the themes and key ideas of the stories. At times macabre, at other times reflective and morose, this is a book that enables the reader to look at life through a darker lens.
I have awarded this book a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
In this sequel to ‘Tainted Waters’, Alice has moved into the next phase of her life as a Paranormal Peace Keeper. Although reconciled to her heritage, she still has many questions about who and what she really is, and where her value lies as both an individual and as part of the organisation to which she belongs.
Those questions continue to plague her as she undertakes her most challenging mission yet, with a new partner who poses problems of his own for our protagonist. who still struggles to come to terms with her lifelong issues with trust and belonging. As with the first book, Alice has to make choices where there is no good option, and then work to make those choices turn out for the best. This is one of the elements of these books that I really appreciate – life isn’t straightforward or easy for most people, and the turmoil that Alice experiences at times is something that I can really relate to.
Stanhope is a master of juxtaposing light and dark, and fear and trust, in a way that adds depth to both the characters and the plot as the story unfolds. As with ‘Tainted Waters’, ‘Feral’ keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish.
I found this to be an intriguing and enjoyable read – so much so that I didn’t want to put it down.
‘Feral’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.
Find your copy here.
A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.
A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story, ‘Necrozmancy’ is a short read that can be enjoyed in less than an hour.
The characters are darker and more sinister than in the original tale, and yet I prefer them this way. I always enjoy the opportunity to see how things end up differently when characters take an alternative path, and Stanhope’s reinvention of Dorothy and Toto in particular is magnificent.
This story is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but lovers of the macabre and horrific will certainly enjoy it.
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.
Find your copy here.
I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short.
This is an excellent short story. Doyle has done an excellent job of building the suspense and the reader’s awareness of the sinister before making them gasp and recoil as the action heats up.
The characters are all very believable, and will remind the reader of people – or, at least, types of people – they know. Their banter and conversations draw the reader in, building familiarity with the characters so that by the time the story really gets going, the reader has an emotional investment in their wellbeing and fate. This heightens the tension as the story develops, and increases the impact of the climax of the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.
Get your copy here.
100 Word Horrors: A collection of brilliant short reads.
A drabble is a piece of writing that is about 100 words in length.
What people often do not realise is that writing something short and making it as effective as something longer is actually really hard to do. The same opportunities to develop plot, characters and ideas in a novel or longer story do not exist in flash, micro fiction, or drabbles.
This book is a collection of drabbles by different authors, all in the genre of horror. The majority of these pieces of short fiction are brilliant; some are less effective, but that is largely a matter of personal preference. The chills, crawling of skin and unexpected twists are delivered with all the skill and craft that these writers use in their other, longer works, but their talent is highlighted in the fact that they can achieve this in so few words.
This book is great for anyone who loves horror, especially for a quick snatched moment of escape during a break or quiet moment. It’s also ideal for anyone new to the genre who wants to “dip their toes in the water” for the first time without committing to a longer read.
An enjoyable short read, but I wanted more.
Set during a period of profound economic depression, the tone of the opening chapters is evocative of the hopelessness and privation experienced by those who endured it, and particularly by the central character who has different, but equally valid, reasons for disenchantment and restlessness. The contrasts between the environments and settings of the different phases of the story are striking, and have a profound effect on the author’s delivery of the story.
I enjoyed reading this story, although there were aspects that I wish the author had developed in more depth. The main character is really the only multidimensional character in the story, which is fine in a short read, but I did want to know and see more of the two other key figures that appeared in the second half of the story, and to understand more of the connections between them all. I also felt somewhat dissatisfied that the revelations made to the main character in the second phase of the story were delivered by her reading a book to which the reader had no access – and was therefore somewhat glossed over in the narrative. It left this reader feeling like an onlooker, rather than being involved emotionally in the journey of the character.
Overall, ‘Once Upon A Grave’ is an enjoyable short read, although less gripping than I generally hope for in paranormal or dark fiction.
Six stories for readers who enjoy their fiction dark and original.
This book is a collection of six dark stories that are just the right length to read during a coffee break.
Each of these stories paints a unique scene in which the central character experiences the darker side of life. Some macabre and some more horrific, each story surprises and intrigues the reader with a twist or a barb in the tale.The stories are well written and should please those readers who enjoy their fiction dark and original.
Enjoyable and varied, this book has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Readers can buy a copy at Amazon