My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Thirteen tales, ranging from horrific creatures emerging from another realm, to the hellish secrets of a dingy bar. Monsters of all shapes and sizes take the spotlight, some deadlier than others.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Darren Gallagher for giving me the opportunity.
My first impression of this collection was a good one, however after the initial story, The Silence of Music, my interest waned quite a bit until later in the book. It was a mixed bag, including aspects of horror, fantasy and science fiction that varied in imagination. Some were painfully cliché with little to no flare, whilst others showcased Gallagher’s ability to step outside the box – I obviously preferred the latter. Editing also seemed to be an on and off affair; particular tales were error-free, and others were sprinkled with mistakes in spelling and grammar. I’d say some simple revision is needed in certain areas, just to clean it up, but I daresay it wasn’t as bad as some other independently published works I’ve read.
Those I didn’t care for were The Man in the Mist, Coming Home is Never the Same, I’m Sorry, and The Visitor. With Coming Home is Never the Same especially, I took to skimming the majority of it because of its length. Several additions were rather drawn-out, and usually I’d consider that a good thing as it adds more substance, but here it was just prolonging my boredom.
Let’s get into my top three:
The Silence of Music – A soft, smooth melody pulled Walter from his sleep.
There’s something about music in the horror genre. It’s an aspect not often used – at least I don’t see it a great deal – so when I actually come across it I find it has an endearing quality. Music is such a magical thing in itself – it affects us all. The Silence of Music was simple in execution, but that was a strength. It expressed a sense of strangeness that I felt invested in. Walter’s confusion was my confusion, and like him I was transfixed until the end.
Survival of the Fittest – They had him torn to pieces and his bloody corpse lay scattered on the floor.
Experiments gone wrong, with a unique spin that Gallagher excelled in. The Shralocks were the highlight of this one; I LOVED them. They were the monsters that hungered for slaughter, but unlike most depictions of such beasts, actual insight was given into their minds and how they communicated with each other. I couldn’t get enough of them, and their relationship with Jason was the strongest point in the entire book. Seriously, it was a brilliant concept for a novel.
Christmas Eve and the Little Girl – This was no little girl.
One of the shorter tales in this collection, and I had to applaud it. It was perfect for the time of year, and also something I didn’t expect. I can’t say much else, other than sometimes it’s better to mind your own business.
Other stories of note: The Foyle, The Other Fountain, The Devil’s Queen, Hell on Earth, The Darkside of Avenues, and The Only Place to Die.
In conclusion: Most of the stories were average, with the aforementioned three being at the top. However, my outright dislike for a particular few really affected my experience. I felt that they dragged on, so much so that I didn’t even want to continue at points. I’m glad I did though, as there’s some little bits and pieces that were worth it.
© Red Lace 2018