Monday, December 2, 2013

Some short dark stories for the long dark nights of winter

My sons' old computer's dying. At least, I think it is. That awful burning smell all through the house went away a few hours after I pulled the plug. But the sons are coming home for Christmas and need that plug and computer to help them play. So I'm dearly hoping our local Friendly Computers will find a way...

Meanwhile my cell-phone's dying. I can tell 'cause each time I finish using it the screen goes dim and everything switches off. Sometimes it switches off before I finish using it. I've ordered a new battery and I'm hoping for the best 'cause Christmas is coming and cell-phones cost too much.

Meanwhile... well, such things do tend to come in threes. Luckily I just phoned my Mum, who will fly out from England, bringing Christmas in her luggage, early next week. Her phone's dying too, so I'll count that as my number three and hope all other household electronics behave.

Of course, in the realm of dark fiction, there'd be some evil gremlin hovering over me, sneaking its shadow into the darkened screen, threatening scary powers with the gruesome smells exuded from the limping computer... but that's just fiction, and here are some reviews of suitably dark tales for winter's long dark nights. Don't forget to keep the light on while brewing the coffee.

Starting with the wonderfully scary Skull full of kisses, by Michael West; you'll need a bold, dark, intense, 5-star coffee with this one--a wonderfully intense collection, beautifully crafted, filled with flawed, believable characters, genuine scares, perfect timing, haunting concepts and breathtaking surprises.

Next come two short story collections from Anita Stewart. Once Upon a Dark and Eerie is as dark and eerie as its title suggests, with short poems, snippets, songs and sonnets even, humor, horror and fun. Her latest release, Fairy Tale Fusion, takes the fun and horror further, as "things get messy in the Riding Hood." Delightfully off-beat takes on familiar tales combing with short sharp fairy tale news items, all with great good humor, many surprises, and vivid imagination. Perfectly suited to page-a-coffee reading, these books will go well with several cups of 5-star bold dark blend.

13 Bites, by Lynne Cantwell and others, offers some fascinating short stories filled with mystery, intrigue, and surprises. Each tale has its own unique twist, and there'll be something for everyone. For myself, I struggle to choose a favorite--perhaps those oddly blended nursery rhymes, or the powerful stranger who gives what's wanted but not what's needed, of The Only Way to Save You. More dark 5-star coffee required.

Next is Catherine Cavendish's The Second Wife,a short story that rises through various climaxes to a truly scary conclusion as a new wife slowly learns sympathy for the dead, while the dead have none for her. Dark 5-star coffee again.

And finally, a longer tale, because I haven't only been reading short stories. Read me Dead, by Emerald Barnes is a teen novel with a movie-style feel, set firmly in the present day, and skillfully blending horror with solid realism. And yes, you'll need another dark 5-star coffee with this one.

1 comment:

Catherine Cavendish said...

Thank you for the kind mention, Sheila. Glad you enjoyed 'The Second Wife'.