| Welcome my bloody readers to our favorite time of the year, Halloween! This one is of
course special since it is our 20th Anniversary of BMR. This year is a little different as we all
have real horrors that the world is presenting us in this crazy time. We hope all is staying healthy
and safe. Well, hoping to distract you a little, we have two books for you to read. Both are short
story collections that contain bite size taste of all types of fun horror reading. So take a break
from the real world and enjoy some reading!
Shadow Natures: Stories of Psychological Horror by Rebecca Rowland
Here is a collection of stories that really lives by its title. Rowland puts to-
gether a selection of stories that plays with the mind and has you constantly think-
ing. There is a mix of supernatural and real life horror that always has you think-
ing how you would react.
There are several stories that I enjoyed throughout this collection. The first is
Heart Skull Heart. A father comtemplate his daughters trial for the murder of a
young boy. He hears things about his daughter that he can’t possibly believe
but as he refelcts, he sees a different side which has him questioning who his
daughter really is. I like this story because all parents want to think the best of
their kids and the thought of them doing wrong is unbearable. I love how this
plays with expectations and Rowland does well with playing on this fear and with
the slow revelation.
Another story I liked is Maternal Bond. An exhausted new mother with her
husband away for work is bowing to the pressure of taking care of her newborn
who always seems to cry. To make things worse, the news is warning people of
a pack of coyotes running about. When this packs starts hangning around the mother’s home, she does
whatever she can to protect her baby. But with her lack of sleep, she takes desparate measures to do
what she needs to do. This is another story that pushes the boundaries of parenthood and leads a parent
to do something that a normal thinking person wouldn’t do.
A few other stories that jump out for me are Drifter, a roaming cowboy looking to bring a friend back
for a decent burial. He finally finds a place with the help of a youngster but things don’t end up like they
should. Another one is Taking Out The Garbage. A conveinience store owner looking to get out of a bad
neighborhood finds out a surprise from a regular customer. One more is Itch which tells a story of a sister
embarrassed and disgusted by her brother over his condition and he has to move back home. It
overtakes her thoughts until it all comes to a head.
Rowland puts together a talented group of writers with a variety of short stories with the running theme
of thought provoking stories for both the main characters and the readers. This is probably more
unsettingly compare to the blood and gore and last longer in the readers minds. This makes the collection
memorable and that is all you can ask for. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who wants to read
something that is hard to forget. Check Amazon for this book.
The Captivating Flames of Madness by Jeff Parsons
When I first agree to review this book, I was intrigued by the title. The cover
was also interesting in the way that if you looked at it from a distance, it shows a
laughing maniacal face. This only led me to expect big things from this collection
and I was not disappointed.
Parsons gathered toghether a group of his stories that range types of stories
and the time frames that they take place in. There were many stories to choose
from that I enjoyed. One of them was Control. This story is about a young girl with
big dreams getting dragged down and now preying on those weaker than her. The
girl spots a old woman who seems to have tons of cash and is ripe for the picking.
But as she follows the old woman, things don’t go as predicted. I likes this story
because it shows that just when you think things can’t get any worse, it usually does.
Another story I liked was The Bracelet. A gangster trying to shake down an
old man and his shop for protection money makes a deal. The old man gives him
a love potion to get the woman who he can’t seem to get. But as this progress,
they don’t go the way he suspects and the consequences are far reaching for his
life. This story starts off interesting and you think you see where it is going but doesn’t quite get there. He
waits until the end to drop the hammer.
There are a few other stories I enjoy but don’t want to give anything away but check these stories out:
1642 – about a boy that ends up a slave but gets the finaly laugh in the end, The Daisy – a nurse
welcomes a new doctor who likes to perform experiments but doesn’t get the results he wants and Don’t
Worry Daddy where a father wants only the best for his disabled son worries that his son inherited his
temper along with a few extras.
I do recommend this book for all horror fans who enjoy the variety of stories that Parsons includes. It
can be found in the usual places like Amazon.
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