Book Review: ‘Necrozmancy: A Short Horror Story’ by Lucretia Stanhope

A delightfully gory and subversive parody of the classic Wizard of Oz story.

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Lucretia Stanhope Necrozmancy

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.

Acorn Award I Golden
Because it tickled both my funny bone and my dark side, I have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Hades’ Gate’ by D.J. Doyle

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short.

DJ Doyle Hades Gate

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.
Acorn Award I Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed this grim little horror short, and have awarded it a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

 

Book Review: ‘100 Word Horrors’ Anthology

100 Word Horrors: A collection of brilliant short reads.

Anthology 100 Word Horrors

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.
Acorn Award I Golden

 

‘100 Word Horrors’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

 

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Once Upon A Grave’ by William Bove

An enjoyable short read, but I wanted more.

William Bove Once Upon A Grave

 

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.
Acorn Award III Bronze

 

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a Bronze Acorn.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Embrace The Darkness and other short stories’ by P.J. Blakey-Novis

Six stories for readers who enjoy their fiction dark and original.

PJ Blakely-Novis Embrace The Darkness
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.

Book Review: ‘The Dowling House’ by A. Drew

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

A Drew The Dowling House

A tragic story of possession, grief and despair that crosses the boundaries of generations and spiritual realms, The Dowling House leaves the reader resolved to neither simply dismiss the unknown nor to underestimate the power of evil.

The story is quite well crafted, luring the reader into the presence of evil by appealing to that morbid fascination with the mysteries of spirits and ghosts that is so often a part of human nature. George and Melissa are realistic characters, and even though there were times I really wanted him to toughen up and be more useful, his responses to his experiences were probably how many of us would respond in similar circumstances, so I have had to forgive him for that, especially since he does actually do the right things when it matters.

The Dowling House blends some nicely developed Gothic and macabre elements with some moments of pure horror. It is indeed a most satisfying creepy read.

Acorn Award II Silver

I’ve awarded The Dowling House a Silver Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Who Put Her In?’ by Jane Jago

‘Who Put Her In?’ is a gripping mystery/thriller that is very hard to put down.

Jane Jago Who Put Her In

‘Who Put Her In?’ is a gripping mystery/thriller that is very hard to put down. Set in an old English pub, populated by relatable and engaging characters, this is a book that draws the reader in and has them stay right to the end.
The story revolves around Joss and Ben, who take on running a pub for two weeks while the owners take a vacation, and find themselves confronting the various problems that have been haunting the establishment for some time.

Jane Jago delivers the story from the matter-of-fact, no nonsense perspective of Joss, whose personality makes it possible for the reader to take in the depths and shocks of the story without personally taking them on board. One does not get far into the story before feeling as though they know Joss and Ben quite well, and the story unfolds quite seamlessly around the reader who is included as an observer.

I enjoyed this book so much that I was happy to forgive the occasional typographical error as I was reading. In fact, I felt a little sad to be leaving the Fair Maid and Falcon at the end of it all.

Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent book has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.