Story reviews are not necessarily in order.
The first seven stories in this book are all beautifully written and cleverly executed. I wouldn't necessarily describe them as horror, though they are rewarding regardless. The stories are growing increasingly darker as I read deeper into the volume.
*** Literary Sweets
The first story was well-written, enjoyable and quite unique. Not horror in the slightest, but bought smile to my face anyway. Sweet and melancholic, reminiscent of some of Bradbury's more sentimental output.
*** A Friendly Reminder and *** The Monitor
Both very short and well written, though I'm not quite clever enough to understand A FRIENDLY REMINDER.
The stories are well-written, but much shorter and less horror oriented than I had hoped.
**** The Southbound Triple-Six
Groovy. I liked this bite-sized story of deadly sin.
*** Nothing is out There to Get You
Another story snippet. Well-written, but more of an idea than an actual story.
*** A Purchase of Titanic Proportions
A cute little weird tale about a man who buys a chessboard made of wood salvaged from the Titanic.
***** THE LAND OF HER
Wow. That's the best way to sum up my initial reaction to this short but powerful tale.
If you have any intentions of reading this book, I highly recommend not reading this review any further until you have read this story.
I was carried along with the simple fantasy scenario for the first few pages, amused but slightly confused as to what exactly was going on, and puzzled by the childish simplicity of the language, and then it clicked.
I stopped reading right then and started back at the very beginning and it was like reading a whole other tale, much darker and more adult this time around.
Even though the story was very short, it was perfectly written down to the word. Simply brilliant.
***** What the Dark Brings
A short, sweet and disturbing little ditty about a hungry boy in a basement. A tasty morsel indeed, but I'm still hungry!
*** That Thing about a Picture and A Thousand Words
A woman finds an unusually detailed painting of her neighborhood under the door. What can it mean?
I see the cleverness the author was going for here, but in the end this story didn't do a lot for me.
The corn-pone dialect used in this story put me off a bit at first, but once I adjusted to it I enjoyed this tale. This is closer to the length I like in short stories - anything less than ten pages is usually little more than a single idea - and this story was complete. I think it could have been a little better if the ending had been extended a bit more, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Another story that leaves me with the feeling I had after "A Friendly Reminder" - a niggling notion that I understand but am yet missing some deeper meaning simultaneously.
It starts off with a British tone that seems to evaporate towards the end for some reason, and things become so bizarre that I'm not sure how I'm supposed to take it: a lucid dream, steampunk fantasy or some sort of metaphor? While I liked a lot about how this story was shaping up, it ultimately wasn't for me.
*** each to the following: He Who Laughs Last, The Attraction, He's Got Issues, Sissy, and Holes
It's not that I don't like these five stories, I do - they're well-written and have interesting premises - it's just that they're not short stories, per se. They're much more akin to flash fiction, a single scene or scenario and not much else. It leaves me wanting more, which is usually a good thing, but here the amount of story on offer is so slight as to be downright frustrating. Kind of reminds me of a more adult version of [b:The Curse of the Campfire Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales|790260|The Curse of the Campfire Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales|David Lubar|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1317791476s/790260.jpg|776245].
**** The Kissing Booth
Very original storyline - liked this one quite a bit.
***** Come to Jesus Meeting
Now that's what I'm talking about! I really enjoyed this one, and the length was just right - a perfect way to round out the collection. Three kids find a creepy Jesus statue, and with it get more than they bargained for.
And that's it for this collection. Edward has also been kind enough to include as a bonus his first short story collection, [b:Three after|15707189|Three after|Edward Lorn|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1339834920s/15707189.jpg|21371444], which I will review separately.
Overall I liked this book, and would recommend it to people who don't mind extremely short fiction. As long as you approach this collection with the knowledge that it is comprised primarily of flash fiction with a few slightly longer tales thrown in the mix, you should be good to go.
The formatting, writing and editing was impeccable, earning it an overall 4 star review from me. I look forward to checking out more of Edward Lorn's writing in his longer-format works.